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Showing posts from June, 2014

Chokubaijo's in Metropolis Magazine

A chokubaijo just outside Higashikawa, Hokkaido. (I know, I'm cheating a little, but it's a nice picture.) Looking for vegetables but not able to wander off to a farmers market? Or just looking to do a little exploring in your neighborhood? Well, check out my latest piece at Metroplis on chokubaijo's (direct sale stands) in the Tokyo area and go get your veg on! Or jam or pickles or fruit, as the case may be. Be prepared to fill up a backpack or bicycle basket, too!

Tokyo and Kanagawa Farmers Markets: Saturday, June 28th and Sunday, June 29th

Ichizaki-san at the Futamatagawa Farmers Market in Yokohama. Try the cabbage! The weekend forecast promises rain mixed with sun, which is excellent for farms and gardens but not absolutely ideal for farmers market shopping. Don't be deterred, though, as summer fruits such as sumomo (plums) and a few kiwis even are starting to appear along with the usual crowd of summer vegetables. Zucchini (also available at your local chokubaijo !) should be in abundance now, and don't hesitate. These long, lush lovelies are short-lived in Tokyo's hot humidity, although northern growers will have a longer season. (A batch of our favorite zucchini pickles is underway even as I type!) Futamatagawa Farmers Market Friday, June 27th This little market is one of my newest discoveries as I start roaming about Kanagawa Prefecture in search of markets. Two stops away from Yokohama Station, Futamagawa is an out-of-the-way destination that offers an astounding array of seasonal fruit and veg

Ume Hachimitsu: The recipe and a few suggested variations

Ume soaking in preparation for hachimitsu-ing. Ume (Japanese plum) season is winding down as rainy season comes to a close. Starting out green and hard, most shoppers will now find these little round fruits a bit yellow and, on occasion, with a red blush. And while there is plenty of umeshu tucked away in our closets (along with two new variations: rhubarb natsu mikan and ume amanatsu mikan), there was a distinct shortage of ume hachimitsu. A sweet and sour beverage made from honey and vinegar, ume hachimitsu is the best drink on a hot summer day. Unlike its delicious counterpart, umeshu, ume hachimitsu is alcohol-free so kids can drink it. I used to pour a few tablespoons in a bottle, top it off with water, and pop it in the freezer before going to the bed. The next morning I grabbed it as I headed out to the farm to harvest tomatoes in the greenhouse or trim the eggplants. It cooled and refreshed as well as rehydrated.  As my husband likes to say, “Move over, lemonade. Th

Tokyo Farmers Markets: Saturday, June 21st and Sunday, June 22nd

Shirakawago organic farmers at the Nagoya Organic Market. Don't miss their awesome Swiss Chard! Ume seem to be everywhere these days. Every little shop I go into these days has a basket of them (or six!) lying in wait. None, of course, are for sale. When I ask I find out they'll be made into umeboshi or such like by the shop owners. Don't be shy, though, to ask. There are recipes and techniques galore to be found out there by people happy to share. Summer crops such as green beans and tomatoes should also be appearing, while there will be no shortage of potatoes and onions. Carrots , too, will be in abundance, although they will start to wind down soon. Stock up while you can! Koenji Farmer's Market Saturday, June 21st A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the  Za-Koenji Public Theatre  could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and p

Futamatagawa Farmers Market in Yokohohama

Nifty little sign for the Futamatagawa Market in Yokohama. Recent visits to the Nagoya Organic Farmers Market and the Tokaidaigakumae Organic Market , it seemed logical add one more to my list for the month. Friday dawned bright and sunny after nearly a week of rain, so with hat on my head I ventured down the bamboo-covered slopes to catch a train. Futamatagawa may seem like an odd place for a market. Despite being only two stops before Yokohama Station, it is not exactly a vibrant hub of entertainment; however it is home to the prefectural motor vehicles office and a rather large JA outpost. but even before I stepped through the ticket gates it was clear the location worked very well. Vendors still finishing their set-up were already being accosted by customers, a healthy mix of seniors and the more youthful set running errands or taking care of that pesky drivers license. Other growers and producers a little bit further behind schedule continued laying things out as potential

Tokyo Farmers Markets: Saturday, June 14th and Sunday, June 15th

Nagoya's organic market The most happening farmers market weekend of the month promises to be bright and sunny with just a hint of the heat that summer brings. Don't miss the chance to head on out to gather up ume galore, red shiso, and a few last citrus. Biwa, too, should be high on the shopping list as this little lovely is as ephemeral as the lack of humidity just now. Grab a backpack and head on out! Ebisu Market Sunday, June 15th Ebisu will be in full form this month with its two usual markets. Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that  Do One Good , an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you! 11am to 5pm Map Market of the Sun Saturday, June 14th and Sunda

Organic Farmers Market at Tokaidaigakumae Station: Review

Junpei Yoshihara, Nobuhiro Chiba and son at Ginger and Pickles Organic Market. Three narrow tables set on the sidewalk usually reserved for bicycle parking held an array of vegetables: bright green cabbage, red ruffly lettuce, bright orange carrots, and white garlic with just the slightest hint of dirt still on its roots and paper thin skin. Inside the cafe more tables held gleaming bottles of mikan juice, bags of dried beans, and peanuts in the shell. Ginger and Pickles mouthwateringly good baked goods on the counter were joined by golden brown loaves of bread, rolls, and other yeastly delights from The Pottager Bakery. The normally quiet vegan cafe, Ginger and PIckles, buzzed with visitors in various stages of eating, shopping, and talking. “Okaerinasai, Joan-san,” called Junko, the owner, from the kitchen where spicy smells spilled out the doorway where I stood. Just back from a weekend trip to Nagoya to visit another organic farmers market, I’d come straight here from the s

June Farmers Markets in Tokyo

Lee of Lee's Bread in Chigasaki. Find her and her most awesome bread at the Oiso Market. (I'll tell about that later!) The rainy season appears to have begun in earnest, and thankfully my first batch of umeshu is tucked away already. I'm hoping to whip up a couple more (gotta restock, you know!) and begin work on a new batch of umeboshi , too. Despite the rain, don't be shy to head on out. Growers and producers are still hard at work, and with all this rain their fields are gearing up to roll out some serious bounty. Don't miss your chance!  Ebisu Market Sunday, June 1st and Sunday, June 15th Ebisu will be in full form this month with its two usual markets. Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that  Do