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Showing posts from May, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 23rd and Sunday, May 24th

Beautiful windy days are upon us with the occasional spate of rain. If one is a seed or a tomato plant, these are good times. The same is true for farmers and gardeners. Good times, indeed. The garden has been producing a prodigious amount of pea pods that never see the light of my kitchen. Instead, they simply get munched as I work along mulching popcorn , squash, tomatoes, and worrying about my zucchini. The markets below promise those same crunchy pods, something delightful strawberries, and all the best that is spring in Japan. Don't miss it. Earth Day Market Sunday, May 24th 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. This month the market will be a a three-day wonderland of organic and fair trade goodness not to be missed. Come frolic

My Review of The Tao of Vegetable Gardening up at Permaculture Magazine

Carol Deppe is one of the best garden writers around. Her books and articles are smart, funny, practical, and reflective. I've learned more from her than almost any other writer, and her books are the ones I turn to again and again. Her latest, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening , proved just as good. You can read my full review of it here at Permaculture Magazine , and then I recommend purchasing your own. It's a worthwhile investment.

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 16th and Sunday, May 17th

ReWine at the Victoria Market in Melbourne. Genius. Pure genius. Despite a wandering typhoon earlier in the week, the weekend promises reasonably good weather for visiting these charming markets. Cabbage and broccoli should abound along with an early harvest of onions. Strawberries, too, should be in the full, sweet season and will be well worth devouring. Snappu Endou (peas) should also be readily available to satisfy all your snacking needs. And don't forget to pick up a seedling or two for starting a green curtain or a nice little balcony salad garden! Ebisu Market Sunday, May 17th There is a wee bit of an extravaganza at the Ebisu Market this month with their Life is Delicious event. In celebration of the Golden Week holidays, the market is going full-tilt with vegetable and foodly fun. 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 lovel

Thursday Snapshot: Fleabane Daisy

Always a favorite flower , I caught this little cluster on a recent sunrise hike with a friend. They are one of the handful of volunteer plants I try to not weed out of the garden or anywhere else. They are far too cheerful to remove.

The Benefits of Mulch

Note the grass clipping mulch on the ends of the rows. A friend who recently took up gardening mentioned she had a weed problem. “We just can’t keep up with them,” she said with an exasperated sigh. “They reappear as fast as we pull them out.” When I asked whether or not she used mulch, she said no. “What’s that?” she asked, and I began a little talk about bare soil and why it shouldn't be allowed. Soil is our greatest resource, and as gardeners and farmers we should not squander it. Like water, soil should be protected and used wisely. Mulch is an easy way to do that. Mulching a growing space large or small has a number of advantages. Mulch suppresses weeds. A thick layer of organic mulch will smother any weeds or weed seeds loitering in the soil. Growers particularly worried about weeds can put down a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard first, and then pile the mulch on top. Weeds that do appear will be easy to spot and pull out with relative ease. Once pulle

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, May 9th and Sunday, May 10th

A selection of lovely citrus along the Shimanami Kaido. Fields and gardens all around are planted or nearly so, which means market tables will be full to bursting with all sorts of goodies. Don't miss this opportunity to wander out into the city to find something seasonally scrumptious for dinner or for later in the week. We just returned from a bike trip on the Shimanami Kaido where we ate some of the most amazing citrus ever. You can find samples of this at the Roppongi and UNU Markets, by the way. Don't miss it! Market of the Sun Saturday, May 9th and Sunday, May 10th The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets,  Market of the Sun  professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to have a bit of an Italian theme, too. Cheese, anyone?. 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

Thursday Snapshot: Drying Squid in Ito

Drying squid on the street. Ito, Japan. Back in February or March we took a short trip to Ito to stay at the K's House Hostel and Onsen. There isn't much, frankly, going on in Ito, but the hostel itself was worth the trip. We did take a wander about the town, and we spotted fish drying everywhere. Plenty of neighborhood cats did, too, which is why the screen is over the top. The finished product is delicious.

Reprise: Satoyama: The Wild Edge of Japanese Farming

Spring at Hamma Farm in Nara, Japan. One of the best places on Earth. This article first appeared at EcoWaza  in the summer of 2010. Inspired by my work on a Tokyo organic farm and visits with other farmers around the country and at farmers markets, I was glad to delve a bit deeper into the topic. There is still so much to learn, but thankfully, it is a pleasure to get out, get my hands dirty, and find out what's happening. - JB Traditional farming in Japan has a wild edge.  Adjacent to the carefully tended rice fields and rows of vegetables is an area rich with life.  Birds dive over the trees and fields, catching insects, while bees drone from one flower to the next. Trees of all types and sizes move in the wind, and a fox pauses in his afternoon stroll to listen for a mouse feeding on a fallen berry in the underbrush. Moss breaks down the stump of a tree cut for firewood, while microorganisms in the soil work from the bottom to help the process along. The juxtaposition o

May Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama Regions

Cute dog and a big basket of Laciento kale at Tas Farm Gate in Hobart, Tasmania. Life is good, indeed. Spring is in full swing on these glorious, sun-filled days. Gardens and fields all around are us are filling with seedlings, and each day they appear greener than the last. The first of the onions have appeared, which surely means that tomatoes and eggplant will follow in reasonably short order. However, spring treats like nanohana and snap peas still abound, so don't hesitate to scoop them up while they still fill the tables. See you at the market! Ebisu Market Saturday, May 2nd through Wednesday, May 6th and Sunday, May 17th There is a wee bit of an extravaganza at the Ebisu Market this month with their Life is Delicious event. In celebration of the Golden Week holidays, the market is going full-tilt with vegetable and foodly fun. 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 ga