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Showing posts from February, 2015

March Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama Regions

Hello, daikon! Kamakura Farmers Market. Spring is rolling in, sprinkling ume blossoms in her wake along with a few blustery blue days, too. Don't miss the chance to sample udo , one of the weirder vegetables out there, for its slightly ginger tang, as well as nanohana . Oh, and feast away on the other delightful bits and bobs of the season to be found, not the least of which will be seeds, seedlings, and plenty of foodly inspiration everywhere. I'm in Australia at the moment munching and drinking my way about the markets there with a bit of hiking and friend-visiting, too. Head on out and enjoy for me! Ebisu Market Sunday, March 1st and Sunday, March 15th 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

Japanese Charcoal: How and Why this Natural Deodorizer Works Its Magic: Reprise

A variation on the chokubaijo (vegetable stand). Instead of produce, homemade charcoal. Hachioji, Japan This post first appeared at Ecotwaza , a beloved little company here in Japan sharing the best of Japanese culture. Don't be shy to take a look and see what's going on over there! - JB There's good reason for charcoal to be so popular in Japan. A long tradition of using it to heat and cook made it indispensable for a smooth running household, but it played other roles inside and outside the home. A charcoal maker would have gathered their raw material – wood – from nearby forests, which meant they played a significant role in the cycle of satoyama. The stump left behind in this half-wild, half-managed 'buffer' area would resprout in preparation for future harvests. Such practices allowed for continuous human use that left a place for understory plants to flourish and wildlife to roam.  Today, only a small handful of charcoal-makers remain, but the cou

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 21st and Sunday, February 22nd

Beets, glorious beets, at the Kamakura Farmers Market. This short month is one of my favorites for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are ume. This lovely tree blooms in the face of ice and snow, sending its sweet scent out as a reminder of good things to come. I don't mean spring or summer, by the way, but rather the ume themselves. They are a fruit I admire almost as much as I admire the glorious winter vegetables that set farmers market tables groaning this time of year. A very nice selection of charming markets can be found this weekend as well as the usual larger affairs. Remember, size doesn't matter... Koenji Farmer's Market Saturday, February 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 producers, and the bounty surely continues! 11am - 5pm Map

Nine Good Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets: Reprise

A farmer and his interns at one of Sapporo's farmers markets. This post first appeared at Ecotwaza , a beloved little company here in Japan doing good work to share the joys of Japanese culture. Take a look and don't worry about not speaking Japanese. Roam about and then email with questions. They are ridiculously happy to help! - JB With supermarkets and convenience stores on nearly every block and food cooperatives that deliver right to the door, why take the extra time go to a farmers market? The answer lies in the variety these markets offer in terms of location and atmosphere, not to mention the produce and expertise found nowhere else in the city. From the United Nations University Farmers Market in Aoyoama to the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi, Tokyo farmers markets offer a year round spectacle of food that is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Still feeling skeptical? Here are my nine favorite reasons for heading out to one each week.  Take home l

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 14th and Sunday, February 15th

Kohei Yamada at the Seagull Marche in Yokohama. Don't miss his fantastic selection of dried vegetables. Snow may be liberally sprinkled along the nearby mountain tops, but here in the valley and near the ocean its bright blue sky and blustery wind. Take advantage of these beautiful days to find a bounty of winter vegetables while bread bakes in the rice cooker or to whip up a favorite udon dish or pickle . The possibilities are endless in this glorious season. See you at the market! Ebisu Market Sunday, February 15th 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, Feb

Asazuke: The Quick Ferment for Tasty Pickles Any Time

This article first appeared in July, 2014 over at Ecotwaza , a beloved little company here in Japan doing good work to share the joys of Japanese culture, that is well worth a look.  - JB Asazuke literally translates as ‘morning pickle’ and is one of Japan’s easiest ways to make a pretty little side dish out of almost any vegetable at hand. They are a nice alternative for enjoying summer bounty that doesn’t require a hot stove or oven, just a few spices, some salt, and time. They can also make a quick and pretty little dish to pass at summer picnics or family potlucks. A little slicing and dicing, massaging, and waiting and ta-dah! Pickles on the table. Using this basic recipe and ratios, ingredients  can be switched up easily throughout the year. Thinly sliced rhubarb or cucumber with onion (red is by far the prettiest!) in summer, while paper thin slices of carrot, daikon or other radishes work extremely well in winter. Leaf vegetables work like a charm, too, as the qui

My interview with Courtney White up at Permaculture Magazine

Another of the great pleasures I had late last year was a long talk with Courtney White, author of many books, including Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country (Chelsea Green, 2014). There White weaves a tale of soil carbon sequestration that is inspiring, enlightening, and compelling. Readers will learn the basic science behind carbon, climate change, and the variety of ways we can positively work for change. White illustrates his tale with examples of a variety of projects, each one more intriguing than the last. But I digress. Check out my article at Permaculture Magazine , then read the book. You won't be disappointed.

February Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama Regions

Takusagawa-san offering yummy samples of his wine, jam, and compote at a Yokohama Market. He can also be found at the Market of the Sun. Gracious me. It's February. This year is already flying by. I'm just in from a late afternoon at the garden where I'm getting ready to plant potatoes in a week or so. Snow is meant to fly tomorrow, but don't let that deter you from heading out to one of these great markets. Winter, by far, offers the best selection of greens and root vegetables there is to be had. Just imagine a heady stew with potatoes, sweet potatoes , satoimo , carrots , and beans served over a bundle of houtou udon . My stomach is growling already! Ebisu Market Sunday, February 1st and Sunday, February 15th 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 yo

My article about Tokyo Kitchen at Japan Travel

The yummy meal I learned to make with Yoshimi Daiko. Last year was a seriously busy one with writing. I had a great, great time reading books for review , drinking beer , going to restaurants , and doing a bit of travel . One of the really fun assignments I had, though, was a visit to Tokyo Kitchen to partake in a cooking class. I confess that my initial thought was that after living here for six years I knew rather a great deal. I do, but Yoshimi Daiko offered up plenty of great information, tips, and techniques that I continue to use today. Her dashi recipe is, in fact, an almost daily ritual in our house. I am grateful and so are our family and friends. Read my story about Yoshimi's class and go ahead an book one for yourself. She's right next door to the venerable Senso-ji in Asakusa, one of my favorite places in the world.