Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Happy New Year!

The monkey, rightly so, looks rather excited.
It is hard to believe that a new year is upon us, but it is. (I say this every year. I promise something new for next year!) It's been a good year of new projects, work on old and beloved projects, time well-spent with old friends, and rekindling relationships with distant family. I am grateful.

Here's to a year of bountiful harvests, deepening friendships, discovery and the ever important, tasty food and new vegetables to try. See you at the market!

Monday, December 28, 2015

My essay, Ghosts in My Kitchen, at Metropolis Magazine

Bread and jam are a classic combination of flavor and memory.
One of the unexpected pleasures of living outside of my home country is discovering the deeper meaning behind the food I make. I know that all food has a story and that many of the dishes we eat and their ingredients have tales to tell; however, I didn't realize how important those stories were to me personally until recently. My essay, Ghosts in My Kitchen, at Metropolis Magazine elaborates on that idea and the comfort it affords.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 26th and Sunday, December 27th

Kitanaka Marche in Yokohama is one of the best new finds of the year.
A lovely weekend is upon us for farmers markets and preparations for the New Year. Santa has come and gone from our house, but he certainly enjoyed a tall, cool glass of umehachimitsu with his cookies and gingerbread. There will be plenty of good, seasonal vegetables to balance out all the treats yet to be consumed, so don't be shy to head on out to one of these great markets. What a better way to ring out the old year?

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in December
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Fuji-san at Sunrise

Fuji-san at sunrise.
One of the great pleasures of our current apartment is the wonderful view it affords of Fuji-san. Each morning we greet the mountain, and every evening we say good night. A large but reasonably quiet neighbor, Fuji-san is a pleasure to share the seasons with. For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas. For those who don't, Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Satoimo Mothers: Planning for Spring

The ladies snuggled in for their long winters nap.
The other day while down at the community garden one of my fellow gardeners stopped by. He's always there, and his garden is one that I admire the most. His plants are healthy and happy, and his soil is considerably higher than the surrounding gardens. "Well, I've been gardening here for more than twenty years," was all he said when I commented on it.

That day, though, he had something else in mind. "Do you like satoimo?" he asked, and of course I said yes. This slimy potato, also known as taro, is a nice addition to our diet, and while I haven't always been a fan I appreciate its flavor and texture more now than ever. We walked over to his garden where I stood admiring his daikon and assorted winter greens while he gathered up a bag of the roots.

"Would you like to grow it?" he asked, holding up an enormous satoimo for me to examine. Anywhere from two to four times the size of the regular satoimo, this larger version is known as the "mother." If the mother satoimo is kept cool, dry and comfortable throughout the winter, she can be planted in the spring to grow new satoimo. "I have too many. My neighbors," he said gesturing to the other nearby gardens, "run away now when they see me. They know I want to give them satoimo."

I laughed and told him people who grow zucchini often suffer from the same problem. "I'd be happy to help you out," I said.

I dug a hole about 50cm deep at one end of my garden and wrapped the satoimo mothers in wara and covered them back up with soil. Come April, I'll dig them up and replant them for a fresh crop. Next year, I suspect my neighbors may start running away from me...


Friday, December 18, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th

Do-re-mi Farms and their creative pickles at Kitanaka Marche in Yokohama.
December's delights are plenty and varied, so don't be shy about heading out to one of these lovely markets. There is no more perfect gift than a brightly colored bundle of kabu or verdant komatsuna, in my opinion. And don't forget handmade mochi, pickles that will make you pucker, or honey as sweet as that loved one on the list. Also remember that pumpkin pie can be made from any squash found on a vendor's table!

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, December 19th
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 2oth
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th
A brand new market opening this month in Yokohama that looks quite promising. Their Facebook page says the Market of the Sun folks decided to start it up, so it could be good. I'll be visiting to check it out!
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Exit 2

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, December 20th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in December
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Cute Cat in Chichibu

A little aloof but still adorable near the banks of the Nagatoro River.
I met this lovely fellow on a recent trip to Chichibu. His furry little self was a highlight, although I thought the same thing that morning while cruising down the Nagatoro in a traditional boat and then later that evening while viewing maple leaves. Call me fickle.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Habotan or Ornamental Kale: Not Just Another Pretty Face

Habotan (ornamental kale) getting ready for salad.
A little while back a friend asked me if it was possible to eat habotan or ornamental kale. My response was an immediate yes, especially as we'd been adding those bright frilly leaves to our house salads since landing in Japan seven years ago. "My wife," he replied, "says they aren't. She says you shouldn't eat them."

I sensed a bit of a spousal argument here that it might be best to steer clear of; however, I also wanted to know the answer. Had we been eating something technically inedible? Or were habotan off the menu simply because they were an ornamental plant? This time of year they appear in flower pots everywhere along with pansies and violas (two more edible ornamentals, by the way) signaling the winter growing season is upon us.

I turned to one of the many reference books I keep on hand for these occasions. Joy Larkcom came to the rescue as usual and let me know in no uncertain terms that the plant is not only edible but delicious. Other reliable sources said the same of this dolled up cousin of regular kale. So make the most of that nutritious and delicous beauty donning the front step and toss it in soups and salads to your heart's content!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th

Organic growers all the way from Ibaraki at the Earth Day Market.
Since the Ebisu Market has decided to go weekly, the weekends are packed with marketly fun. Those seeking a bit of holiday fun and shopping opportunity along with their seasonal produce will find the Roppongi and Earth Day Markets plum full of festiveness. Surely, the others will be in on the fun, too, but those two have advertised specifically that they've got holiday treats in mind. The Earth Day Market is particularly wonderful with plenty of handmade crafts on treats in addition to the usual plenty. Have fun!
Market of the Sun
Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets at two years old, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to be all about the grape. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Saturday, December 12th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in December
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Maple Leaves Illuminated


Illuminated maple leaves in Chichibu.
Recently, I visited Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture for the first time. The stunning scenery and delicious food took my breath away and already have me planning another trip to try the hiking trails, onsen, and camping spots. However, one particular treat was night viewing of momiji (maple leaves).

Maple leaves and early evening sky in Chichibu.
The concept is simple: place lights under a maple tree, aim them up, and turn them on. I admit to thinking this was a bit silly and so had never before gone. My mistake. It was amazing.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mottainai: Rice Straw as Mulch

Wara ready and waiting in the garden.
When one of my fellow community garden members mentioned that a nearby rice farmer gave us wara (rice straw) for free, I jumped at the chance to get some. Farmers and gardeners alike have long said to me that wara makes good soil, and so I wasted no time in dashing over to get some.

Traditional rice harvesting practices cut the plants at the base and then hang them to dry on bamboo racks in the fields. Growers like Kazuto Hamma believe that sun-drying intensifies flavor and nutrition while also taking advantage of a naturally available energy source, which is why he and his sister, Erina, sun dry everything from tea to beans to shiitake. Once the rice is dried it is threshed, and the straw is again gathered in bundles, tied, and either hung or stood in groups of four to dry. Modern harvesters are reminiscent of a lawnmower in that finely chopped straw is spewed out behind and left on the field where it will be tilled in in preparation for the next growing season.

Wara laid snug around habotan (ornamental kale.)
Wara, like straw at home, comes relatively clean and seed free. The long, golden stems lie down flat on top of garden soil and don't get picked up easily by wind making it an excellent mulch. (For the record, I don't believe in bare soil.) They also take a fair amount of time to break down, which means they loiter well through winter rain, sun, and frost.

It also turns out that wara is jam-packed with silica, which helps plants develop strong stems and leaves as well as ward off disease and pests. As the wara breaks down (sheltering and feeding various beneficial creatures in, on, under, and around my garden in the meantime) and is ultimately buried in my no-till practices, that it gives up its silica meaning healthier plants and a better harvest.

Friday, December 4, 2015

December Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets

Squash party at the Earth Day Farmers Market!
December is upon us and Santa Claus surely must be eating plenty of good seasonal fare to gear up for his long ride later this month. You can find much of the same at these lovely markets in Tokyo and Yokohama. Each one will have it's own holiday theme, and is the perfect place to stock up on treats for guests or for gifts. Need a recommendation? Just drop me a note, and I'll give you some ideas!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in December
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets at two years old, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to be all about the grape. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, December 19th
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 2oth
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, December 19th and Sunday, December 20th
A brand new market opening this month in Yokohama that looks quite promising. Their Facebook page says the Market of the Sun folks decided to start it up, so it could be good. I'll be visiting to check it out!
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Exit 2

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, December 20th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Saturday, December 12th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Market Review: Kitanaka Farmers Market in Yokohama


Colorful carrots from Eishi Yamane's organic farm in Fujisawa.
Kitanaka Marche just outside Bashamichi Station in Yokohama burst on the market scene in November, and if the first event is any indication this is going to be a whopper of a good market. An off-shoot of Tokyo's Taiyo (Sun) Marche, many of the vendors are from there, but it is worth noting that a preponderance of them come from nearby rural areas. The market offered a terrific selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, rice, jams, pickles, honey and maple syrup, and extraordinary baked goods.

Do-Re-Mi Farms and their beautiful edibles in jars.
Like Market of the Sun, Kitanaka Marche is about building community, according to market manager, Akiko Yamamoto. "With the redevelopment of this area underway, we wanted to find a way to draw new people here and interact with the locals," she said as I spotted the green leaves of a daikon bobbing merrily in the bag of happy shopper.

Shizuka Komiya and Midori Kabaya from Aloha Farms in Tochigi.

Tired shoppers can restore themselves at one of nearly twenty food trucks nestled at one end of the market offering a great selection of foods and beverages. Or head on over to Baird's Bashamichi Taproom for a lovely pint (I'm a fan of the Single Take Session.) and some of the best barbecue this side of the Pacific.

An amazing selection of honey from Beehive Apiary Murakami in Shizouka.
Read my full review in Outdoor Japan's 2015 Winter Traveler for specific recommendations and more details on the fun to be had!

Kitanaka Marche
Third Saturday and Sunday of each month
10am - 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Yokohama
Head out Exit #2

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 28th and Sunday, November 29th

Beehive Apiary Murakami at the newly opened Kitanaka Marche in Yokohama.
Fuji-san is swathed in snow, and it looks as though November plans to head out in a blaze of glory. It should be a fantastic weekend for farmers-marketing, so don't miss the chance to grab freshly harvested rice in all colors, daikon and kabu in more colors than ever before imagined, winter greens, and the best citrus of the year fresh from the tree. Oh, and don't forget to look for beets and brussel sprouts (mekabetsu) to add a bit of brilliancy to the week's menu! See you at the market!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Saturday, November 29th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd

Cheerfully bundled up for the season at a Hida Takayama Market.

The most farmers-market-y weekend of them all is upon us here in the Tokyo-Yokohama region. It might be best to bring a friend with an extra backpack for all the goodies that will be on hand. It may also be good to bring a coin to flip to see which one to head to on which day. The new market, Yokohama Kitanaka Marche, is but a few steps from Baird Beer's Bashamichi Taproom....tempting!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 21st
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
A brand new market opening this month in Yokohama that looks quite promising. Their Facebook page says the Market of the Sun folks decided to start it up, so it could be good. I'll be visiting to check it out!
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Markets: Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, November 15th

Togarashi (Japanese hot peppers) strung up to dry.

Welcome to one of the farmers-market-y weekends of the month! Autumn feasting is upon us, so roll yourselves out to one of these lovely spots. While it might be a bit of a trek, the Oiso Market is really a rockstar of the Kanagawa market scene as far as I know it. Music, crafts, tasty food, and some wonderfully fresh local fruit and veg are there for the taking. See you there!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, Novemer 14th and Sunday, November 15th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets at two years old, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to be all about the grape. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, November 15th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Markets: Saturday, November 7th and Sunday, November 8th

Competitive shopping at Yurakacho.
A nice bounty of regular markets rounds out this first full weekend of November. Don't hesitate to visit one of these lovelies and see what is on offer. Remember, too, that if weekends are busier than usual, a weekday trip to lovely Kamakura will afford not only a giant Buddha but some great local, seasonal fare, too. Not a bad deal, by any means.

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas! and I'm in it!


I usually don't write personal headlines like that one, but I am very, very excited to be in Chicken Soup's latest Christmas anthology. I wrote about a favorite Christmas in Japan, while we still lived in Tokyo. It didn't start out to be the best by any means, but good friends and a special event turned that all around. Dear me, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

If you get a chance, grab a copy or buy it as a present and read the essay before you wrap it!

Friday, October 30, 2015

November Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama

Cutest eggplant ever at Yurakacho.
It seems impossible to believe that November is already here, but it's true as evidenced by the number of sweet potatoes and squash people giving me. The abundance of winter greens, daikon mabiki, and the sprouting garlic I see in my garden that autumn is here in full force. Shorter days inspire cozy meals and cooler temperatures make hot cups of tea that much tastier. Head on out to one of these great farmers markets (including a brand new one in Yokohama!) and find the latest taste of the season for yourself!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, Novemer 14th and Sunday, November 15th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets at two years old, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to be all about the grape. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 21st
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
A brand new market opening this month in Yokohama that looks quite promising. Their Facebook page says the Market of the Sun folks decided to start it up, so it could be good. I'll be visiting to check it out!
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, November 15th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Saturday, November 29th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, October 25th


Fuji-san has gone all festive with a smattering of snow, and even though temperatures during the day are warm, nights are cool. Sweet potatoes, squash, and greens are filling market tables left and right. New vendors pop up all the time, too, doing exciting things with what comes in from the fields. Don't miss the chance to check out what is on offer this weekend!

Ebisu Market

Every Sunday in October
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Saturday, October 25th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. Come find some good food and fun and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tambo Art article at Metropolis

Sammu's rice field art project in full color.
My time at various farmers markets around Tokyo and Yokohama have afforded me the opportunity to meet many a great farmer. And like farmers everywhere, they are creative, community-minded folks doing good work that reverberates beyond their fields, crops and customers.

Tomohito and Nagisa Minowa are one such pair. Passionate farmers, they are also passionate members of Sammu, their community in Chiba. A recent rice field art project they helped get going has brought together people from all across the community, and will they hope, bring some new international friends out, too. Read the full text of the article here, and then venture on out to Sammu.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th



A bounty of markets are on this month and this weekend, as usual, is no exception. Pick one of these most fantastic markets and head on out to see what seasonal gems you can find. Enjoy!

Ebisu Market

Every Sunday in October
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, October 17th
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, October 17th and Sunday, October 18th
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, October 18th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

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
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

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!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Organic Medicinal Farming Article up at Civil Eats



Inspired by what I read while reviewing The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer for Permaculture Magazine, I took the opportunity to talk to Jeff and Melanie Carpenter, the authors, about their work and the potential this new field of farming has to offer. Fascinating stuff, if I do say so myself. Check out the full piece over at Civil Eats.