Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Market Review: Tokyo's Market of the Sun

Vendors bustling at the Market of the Sun.
Last month a new farmers market popped up in Tokyo. The Market of the Sun opened on Saturday, September 14th to a nearly full house of vendors and an incredible number of customers despite unseemly heat. Claiming to be the city's largest market with roughly 100 vendors, the market tucks itself nicely at the foot of a residential building just outside Kachidoki station in Tsukishima Second Children's Park. Visitors can find everything from fruits and vegetables to soap, jewelry, tea, honey, jam, and seedlings. 

According to Akiko Yamagata, Market of the Sun manager, the monthly event is sponsored by Mitsuii Real Estate Residential Corporation as something interesting for their residents to do and as an attractive option for those drawn to the area by the upcoming 2020 Olympics.  "We wanted consumers to be able to meet farmers face to face and let farmers promote their wares directly," she said. Held the second Saturday and Sunday of each month, Yamagata said there are hopes it will occur more often in the new year. 

Edible Gardens clever little gardens in a paper bag. 
Connections with other farmers markets and organic associations helped Yamagata gather her vendors who come from all over the country. Farmers as well as Tokyo shop owners sell their wares, so be sure to ask the seller for their story. (Alas, no Tokyo farmers are represented although Hokkaido and Kyushu were represented. Of the farmers on hand, about 10-15 of them are organic.) Grower or shop owner, it's bound to be a good one. I bought a lovely citrus from a mostly organic fruit and vegetable seller who candlelights as a jazz pianist. How cool is that?

Market of the Sun it certainly was in September.
This month promises to be cooler...maybe.
Yamakura Organic Tomatoes from Hida Takayama were on hand that day doing a brisk trade in organic heirloom tomatoes. Tipped off by Lionel Dersot who had arrived earlier before the heat really settled in, I wandered over to grab an assorted bag of colorful lovelies. Yamakura grows over 40 varieties of tomatoes and based on the taste they do a great job. (They can also be found at the UN University Farmers Market.)

A mere sampling of Yamakura's awesome tomatoes.
The only sad part of the whole affair was that the non-profit organizations (NPOs) were tucked in a back corner where traffic significantly dropped off. A shame, really, as the activities for kids and families looked impressive and fun. All in all, though, I plan to go again to check it out. Perhaps see you there!

Planning to go? Good!
Market of the Sun
Second Saturday and Sunday of the month
10am - 5pm
Nearest Station: Kachidoki, Exit 4a, 4b

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