Skip to main content

A Duck of My Own

Minowa Farms at the Earth Day Market.
Way too much fun to not stop and say hello!
Each month I pick up a bag of brown rice from Minowa Rice Field at the Earth Day Market. The rice is good, and it's organic, of course, but what charmed me from the start were the ducks. The Minowa's use ducks to help weed their rice fields. The ducks eat weeds but not the rice seedlings, add a bit of fertilizer as they go, and at the end of the season, when the rice is harvested, we eat the ducks. Utterly brilliant, if you ask me.

Duck has been on our family table ever since I can remember. I come from a family of hunters, so each Thanksgiving our turkey and stuffing was served up with a smaller plate of dark, rich duck meat. My oldest brother remains an avid hunter with a deep admiration for water fowl, so when we're home in winter, I often get to sample this favorite dish.

So this year when Nagisa Minowa mentioned their duck owner program, I was intrigued. In previous years they've partnered with a chef at a nearby French restaurant to make pate (scrumptious!), but this year they decided to try something different. Essentially, for 10,000 yen customers can sponsor a duck. Not only do I get a processed duck for eating at the end of the season, but I also get 10 kilograms of the Minowa's most excellent rice. How awesome is that?

*While I'm not sure if ducks are still available, I do recommend perusing Minowa Farms blog (English follows Japanese) and stopping to see them at the Earth Day Farmers Market in Yoyogi. Look for the duck on the bag.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Kamakura Farmers Market: Giant Buddhas and Good Vegetables

Kamakura Farmers Market entrance A little more than an hour train ride south of Tokyo sits Kamakura. Like Kyoto and Nara, Kamakura is a former capital full to the brim with temples, shrines, and a bounty of historical sites lining its winding streets. Nestled in a cozy bay with beaches and a giant Buddha tucked amongst the rest, it's a city that invites multiple visits if not at least one. And those seeking a farmers market well-stocked with traditional vegetables, skilled growers ready to share recipes and chat about their wares, along with some nifty prepared foods to rejuvenate themselves after so many temples surely won't be disappointed, either. Kamakura Farmers Market - right side full of signs Started nearly twenty years ago, the Kamakura Farmers Market or Kamakurasui Nyogyou Rensokubaijo, runs seven days a week nearly year-round. A ten-minute walk from the station, the market is located in what at first glance looks like nothing so much as a run-down w

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l