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Showing posts from April, 2013

Off to a Natural Farm

Kazuto-san, whose lovely farm we'll be helping at. This week we are off to visit a natural farm in Nara Prefecture. It's quite exciting for me to finally see a farm like this in action. I've read two of Masanobu Fukuoka's books, and find his ideas intriguing. I promise to write more when we return early next week!

Tokyo Farmers Markets: April 27th and 28th

Got citrus? Amanatsu at the Earth Day Market. So yummy, so cute. April is coming to a blustery close, but don't be shy about heading out to one of these great farmers markets around the city. Fixings for spring favorites like nanohana or even a mean bowl of udon can all be found. I'll be visiting the Roppongi market this Saturday, and then heading back to the farm to plant the nasu (eggplant) . Summer crops will soon be filling those tables, so don't be shy about gobbling up the best of spring while it's here! (If you're worried about closings, etc., I try to tweet out that information as I learn it.) UN University Market Every Saturday and Sunday A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel! 10am to 4pm Map Roppongi Market

Tokyo Farmers Markets: April 20th and 21st

Nakamura-san of Kougousei and his awesome homemade soil. It goes well with the seeds he sells, too! April Earth Day Market This is, if I may say so, the rockin-est weekend around for farmers markets in Tokyo. Grab a favorite shopping bag and head on out to markets large and small to find a terrific variety of seasonal product, tasty jams and pickles, a little live music, an educational workshop or two, steaming hot treats from a roving food truck, and some really fun people. Many of them will also just happen to be growers and producers eager to talk about what they do, why they do it, or even just the weather, if you prefer. Don't miss it! Ebisu Market Sunday, April 21st 11am to 5pm A nice sized market held on the terrace just in front of Ebisu Garden Place that will always be special to me for introducing me to dried natto and  tea seedpods . Map Nippori Farmer's Market Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st 10am to 5pm Another great market in

Living Mulch for Containers

The little riot of green, a.k.a. living mulch, in one of my pots on the balcony. The same inspiration - spring, packets of seeds for sale everywhere, and the current flow of work at the farm here in Tokyo - that led me to see my egg carton in a new way , led me to read this article by Ari LeVaux in a different light. LeVaux wrote about a beautifully simple idea she had for old seeds: mix them together, spread them on the garden bed in fall, rake them in, and then as they sprout in spring and the rest of the seasons eat them as you need room for new plants. Brilliant. And exactly the kind of thing I've been wanting to hear. At our farm the standard practice is to use a black plastic mulch that gets laid down by a heavy machine. It works well as a means to heat up the soil in cooler weather, keep down weeds, and retain moisture. But its plastic, requires fuel to be made and applied, and gets trashed at the end of the season. My farmers put it down for me each season after the

Tokyo Farmers Markets: April 13th and 14th

You, too, can rock out at the Earth Day Market this weekend! A lovely weekend is breaking open with sunshine all the way around. Add a little warmth, too, and there's an ideal time for exploring Tokyo. And for exploring some of the city's markets. Take your pick from this weekend's most excellent selection and find yourself a new spring favorite! Gyre Market Saturday,  April 13th and Sunday, April 14th A gem of a market hidden away in one of Tokyo's high-end shopping districts offering seasonal favorites in a way that feels homey yet rather boutique-y. 11am to 5pm Map Earth Day Market Sunday, April 14th** I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. 10am to 4pm, Rain or shine! **Note the slightly different timing this month! Map

Egg Carton Greenhouse

Egg carton garden in it's homemade greenhouse. Please excuse the free advertising for my hometown grocery store. Spring, of course, is when everyone's mind turns to seeds and new green things. I am no exception, especially as we are busily planting things almost every day at the farm or tending to things that will be planted shortly. As usual, I decided to start some seeds of my own at home. I'm thinking of a green curtain , of course, for the summer, and this year I'm going with morning glories. I love them, and their blue trumpets and generous heart-shaped leaves make ideal shade long into September when the sun still manages to beat down on our little apartment. So, I made my own little greenhouse. Inspired by Cardboard Collective's numerous ingenious ideas and an aversion to plastic, I turned an egg carton into a planter and an old grocery bag into a greenhouse. So far so good, and it was easy to boot! What you'll need: seeds cardboard egg cart

Tokyo Farmers Markets: April

Everybody loves a farmers market! Taken at the March Earth Day Market. It is unbelievable to me that April is here. It seems only last week that I was shivering under early cherry blossoms and trying to soak away sore muscles from planting 220 potatoes. (Yes, you read that right. 220 of those little lovelies are in the ground and thinking about stretching little green arms up into the sunlight any day now.) But the seasons wait for no one. Today, a second round of sweet corn went into the ground, and tomorrow the first of this month's farmers markets begin. I'm hoping to be there despite predicted rain and wind to find yummy mochi, a few citrus, and who knows what else. See you there! Ebisu Market Sunday, April 7th Sunday, April 21st 11am to 5pm A nice sized market held on the terrace just in front of Ebisu Garden Place that will always be special to me for introducing me to dried natto and  tea seedpods . Map Gyre Market Saturday,  April 13th and Su

Making My Own Miso

Smashed beans, or how I made my own miso. Our first year here in Japan was full of food-making adventures: umeboshi , sashimi , umeshu , and kimchi . It was all good fun and led to a whole variety of other experiments. We now have what we call a Shu Closet, where we keep the many jars of fruit shus I've made over the years plus an occasional brandy concoction and umehachimitsu , a lovely non-alcoholic beverage perfect hot or cold. Yet, the experiment that I've delayed out of a certain sense of intimidation is miso. A friend of the farmers stopped at the farm one day and offered a sample of some he'd made. It was chunky and yeasty smelling, and super delicious. It was amazing. Daizu waiting to meet the koji and salt. I'd been further motivated to try my own after interviewing Takashi Watanabe of Tozaiba and the One Bean Revolution . As he spoke about daizu (soy beans) and their importance in Japanese culture, I fell in love with that little bean. I began se