Skip to main content

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


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