Friday, May 10, 2013

Tokyo Farmers Markets: May 11th and 12th

A sweet little organic vegetable stand near Haibara in Nara Prefecture.
May is proving rather blustery this year, but no less sun-shiney than usual. Spring vegetables abound at markets, including a delightful array of sansai (mountain vegetables). I'm no expert in them, but I can say without hesitation that you shouldn't be shy about giving them a go. A farmer or vendor with sansai on the table (Midori at the UN Farmers Market is a perfect example!) will be more than pleased to tell you a tale or two about how they were found, where they grow, and most importantly for your rumbling stomach, how to prepare them. I discovered them four years ago while out carousing on a thatched roof with One Life Japan, and my taste buds have never looked back. Warabi (fern or bracken buds), fuki (the flower shoots of butterbur), sugina (horse tail), itadori (Japanese knotweed) and more are some of the wild delights just waiting for you. Get on out there!

Gyre Market
Saturday,  May 11th and Sunday, May 12th
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
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

Every Saturday
A first visit to this market was well worth the trek for the number of organic growers and getting to meet a Tokyo farmer from just down the tracks in Kokobunji!
10am to 2pm

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

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