Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2015

Farmers Market Review: Flemington Street Market - Melbourne, Australia

Nibbling Around Melbourne and Tasmania   I visited as many farmers markets as I could during our three-week stay in Australia. Markets are one of the best ways to glimpse a place and its culture, meet its people, and learn its history. What we saw during our short time was not only mouth-watering, but utterly thrilling. As we toured the Queen Victoria Market, arguably Melbourne’s most famous and oldest market, I learned that the first vendors were English with their meat pies, quickly followed by Germans and an assortment of Europeans with cheese and heavy breads. Then came a wave of Greeks and Italians with their spicy lamb and espresso machines, respectively. Then Middle Easterners arrived, bringing the glories of hummus and tabouleh with them. The pure joy of finding myself in such a glorious melting pot, surrounded by the buffet of history, is nearly indescribable. Melbourne is literally the most deliciously intriguing place I have been in a long time.  With that in mind,

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

John Howell with some of his lovely apples at Melbourne's Flemington Street Market . John's apples, along with his daughter, can also be found at Melbourne's Slow Food Market . The sakura are bursting at the seams outside my window, which is surely one of the earliest flutterings of Spring's cape as she starts round the corner. Pick up some of the best grub going at a farmers market this weekend for hanami delights or better yet settle in at Beernista just around the corner from the Earth Day Market. This two day market and craft beer extravaganza is seriously the best scene in town. Pick up your salad fixings and head on over! Earth Day Market Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 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 do

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

Delicious seasonal fun at Melbourne's Slow Food Farmers Market. This weekend marks the beginning of Spring, and what better way to mark the Vernal Equinox than with a trip to a lovely market? We've just returned from Australia - Melbourne and Tasmania, to be specific - where I visited markets galore and saw listings for even more. It feels good, though, to be back here where winter vegetables are still on the table and in the bowl, and where the last of the ume are blooming. I confess to seeing umeboshi, umeshu, and plenty of jam in each and every flower. Tasty times ahead! See you at the market! Koenji Farmer's Market Saturday, March 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 Nippori Farmer's Market

Reprise: Udo: Good Things Grow in Odd Packages

Udo on the chopping block. This post first appeared in June, 2012 at , a lovely little company here in Japan sharing the best of Japanese culture, where I used to write a monthly column.  Udo ( Aralia cordata) is one of the stranger vegetables to be met in a Japanese market. It's length alone – sometimes half a meter or more – can be intimidating. Add pale hairy skin with a blush of maroon near the center growth joint, a curl of leaves resembling a withered hand, and you have a decidedly freakish-looking vegetable. Yet, those that pass this wild vegetable by for more sedate produce such as the carrot miss a seasonal delicacy with delightful flavor and versatility.  Udo is one of the few vegetables eaten raw in Japan, where it shows off a sweet-spicy flavor reminiscent of ginseng with a texture not unlike a good firm apple. It can also be boiled with miso and pork, served by itself with a dollop of miso, or simply massaged with salt and left to rest a bit be

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

Kimura-san keeping cheerful even on a chilly day at the Nippori Farmers Market. March is in full swing and this weekend promises to be a hopping one for farmers markets fans in the Tokyo and Yokohama regions. Don't miss the good fun at Ebisu, Oiso, or Kamakura as well as the usual round of weekly ones. There's plenty of good food to be had, so don't be shy! Ebisu Market 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 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, March 14th and Sunday, March 15th The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets,  Market of the Sun  professes to be one of the larg

Reprise: A Review of Strong in the Rain

This post first appeared in March, 2013 at , a lovely little company here in Japan dedicated to sharing the joys of Japanese culture, where I wrote a monthly column. The aftermath of a natural disaster is no simple affair. Even in Japan, a country long accustomed to earthquakes and the tsunamis that inevitably follow, there is an element of unpredictability. The 9.0 magnitude quake that struck on March 11 th , 2011, brought with it a tsunami the likes of which had not been seen for 500 years. That was long enough to forget the warnings of previous generations and trust man-made barriers to protect shoreline communities. Still, it was the nuclear wild card that threw this country of calm and order, the one most prepared for such kinds of calamities, into new realms of environmental degradation, community displacement, and crisis management. For those living in Tohoku, the northern region of the country directly impacted by this triple calamity, the catastrophe linger

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th

Sea Gull Marche in Yokohama full of good food! March is breezing its way in as winter vegetables begin to give way for spring in field and furrow. There will be some evidence at the market as nanohana starts to appear, but for the most part I'd recommend taking advantage of those glorious winter leafs (komatsuna, karashina, and the like) as well as any last mekabbetsu (brussel sprouts) while the getting is still good. I'm in Australia cruising the market scene in Melbourne and Tasmania, but don't be shy about heading out! 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 tuc

Reprise: Mystery solved! A Review of A Guide to Food Buying in Japan by Carolyn R. Krouse

This post first appeared in June, 2012 at , a lovely little company sharing the joys of Japanese culture, where I used to write a monthly column. Wander over and take a look at the good work they're up to. Don't be shy to email in English. They're fluent and more than happy to help! - JB Buying food in a foreign culture can be as intimidating as it can be exhiliaraing. A new country, more often than not, means new vegetables and fruits, some bearing only a slight resemblance to beloved favorites from home and others so different, they are a tad frightening. A new culture also presents new  cooking challenges – a lack of an oven or only two burners on a stove, for example – not to mention different spices and sauces. Without a personal guide, the usually familiar terrain of supermarkets, green grocers and farmers markets suddenly becomes an alien landscape. Throw in an experimental purchase or two gone wrong, (“That was intestine?!?”) and even the most