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Showing posts from August, 2017

Thursday Snapshot: Aldo Leopold Foundation

A quote from Leopold on the grounds of the foundation. Earlier this year we visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation . We had just watched a short documentary about his life and work, Green Fire , at my hometown library and were deeply moved by it. The similarities to my husband's family's efforts to restore habitat on family land struck us, but for me the film reminded me of what is best about my home state and region. There is a great deal that worries me at the moment and many things that I struggle with, yet what brought all of us together in that room was a love for place. It was a kind of comfort then, and my memory of the discussion afterward reminds me that there is good work underway and in many places. We were also surprised to realize that the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the shack where Leopold wrote his seminal work, The Sand County Almanac , was less than 20 miles away. We drove there the next day along a road I walked as a child with my grandmother and past Pin

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

A bit of bustle at the Ark Hills Marche. A lovely selection of markets this week that will surely not disappoint. Do wander over to the small but charming Kamome Marche in Yokohama or the Ebisu Marche. Both are lovely little affairs with delightful vendors ready to talk about their vegetables and how best to prepare them. At the Ark Hills/Roppongi Hills Marche, don't miss the Pie Queen and her truly delicious wares. Even at two hours away, I find her pie a worthy mission. Kamome Marche Saturday, August 26 Set on the upper level of the Yokohama Bay Quarter, this little market offers nice variety given its size. Vendors from Yamanashi, Yokohama, and other parts of Kanagawa brave the steady ocean breeze and offer everything up from fruit to wine to fresh vegetables. 11am - 5pm Map Kamakura Farmers Market Every day* This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's

Thursday Snapshot: Dill Blossom Fireworks in the Garden

Dill blossoms bursting to life in the garden. Dill is nearly impossible to find in Japan. It is available at some supermarkets and occasionally at farmers markets, but the price is tends to be high and quantities small. I love adding it to salads as the taste and aroma immediately transport me back to Kazakhstan where it was the primary ingredient in nearly everything. It also makes me think of my mother's kitchen and garden, and the summer days where she would bend the long stalks and seed heads into jars of brined cucumbers that would eventually transform into the dill pickles that graced our table the rest of the year. Growing my own , then, is a pleasure of taste as well as memory. It is also a favorite treat of the swallowtail caterpillars, which I gladly share with them along with my parsley. The plant pictured here that at this moment resembles the fireworks that fill the skies on these hot summer evenings, is one found at our local nursery. I've noticed over the y

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

Yummy fresh eggs at the Ark Hills Marche. Things return to normal this week with a number of markets coming back into full swing after the Obon holidays. It is very possible that some vendors will still be away, but don't despair! They will be back after their much-needed holiday and refreshing visit with their ancestors. So, pack up your bags and head on out to see what great treats await! Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi Sunday, August 20 Early birds on Tokyo's west side should count themselves lucky to find  this little market  in the warren of shops just north of the station. While fruits and veg are a bit lacking, the market is big on craftsmen and women doing interesting work, excellent baked goods, miso, rice, and other tasty treats. It's worth noting that a number of places offer breakfast deals in the market! Look for my review in  Outdoor Japan's Spring Traveler ! 7am - 10am Koenji Farmers Market Saturday, August 19 Spotted a handful of years

Thursday Snapshot: Fresh Honeycomb

Maroniya's beautiful and delicious honeycomb. There are many wonderful things to be found at the Earthday Market in Tokyo, and I can always count on finding them at Maroniya's stall. She is one of the first farmers I met at this market, and her patience over the years as my Japanese improved has been an inspiration. Her plum jam is the best thing in the world, and her honey is utterly brilliant. Every month, I am grateful to find her cheerful presence, good conversation, and her wonderful treats at the market. I learn something new every time. In June, Maroniya offered her homemade salve. Combining her beeswax with a bit of olive oil, she made one of the best lip balms and hand salves I've ever used. (Well, it runs a close second to Nakee Natural, at least.) "One second," she said, and crouched down to look under the table. After rummaging a bit, she pulled out a plastic bag with honeycomb in it. "Here, try this. It makes a nice gum, and you can eat

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Markets: Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13

The ever-charming and wonderful Kyoko Tanno of Tanno Nouen at the Ark Hills Marche.  Markets are a bit scant this month, but don't let that hold you back! Venture out to see what glorious treasures may be found. Summer vegetables will be at their peak, and the farmers at their tables will be glad to help you sort out your weekly menu. These chilled summer soups or this all time favorite - tomatoes and green beans - are just a few recipes I recommend. That said, if you've got a favorite you'd like to share, please let me know! Send it along with a photo or two, and I'll post it here. Good eating should be no secret, I say. Kamakura Farmers Market Every day* This market is an absolute treasure of a small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in or nearby another one of Japan's former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal-infused bread while you're there. They

Thursday Snapshot: Celebrating Obon

An Obon tradition. A few years ago we took a bicycle trip around Fukushima Prefecture and stopped in to visit a farmer friend there. She and her family graciously invited us to stay with them during the Obon season, and we enjoyed helping on the farm and getting to know them. It remains one of my fondest memories. What was also very special was that she invited us to participate in a small ritual associated with the holiday. The Obon holiday marks a time when the spirits of the ancestors return to visit their family for three days. It is a very special time, and one of the few times of the year where people get a handful of days off from work in a row. Most people return to their ancestral homelands, and the trains, highways, and buses leaving from Tokyo are as full, I imagine, as the universe is of people streaming back to where they originally come from. After chores and before dinner one night, we walked with our friend to the family cemetery at dusk to welcome the ancesto

Pate Moi: A Delicious Review

Pate Moi ready for action. Very occasionally I am approached to do a product review. Some, like Modern Farmer, contact me to find out what farm tool I love and ask me to review it as they did with the Travoy Bike Trailer by Burley . More often than not, it is a book I am offered to review , which I gladly do as it helps me keep myself up to date with new ideas and the people concocting them. Pate Moi , though, was a different story. A popular item created by Flip Dunning and sold in London's Borough Market , Andrew Williams is here on the ground in Japan attempting to bring it to consumers hungry for something new and delicious.  He and his small cohort have been working hard to spread the news about their mushroom pate, and so he reached out to me to see if I might be interested. As I love to eat and have a special fondness for mushrooms, it seemed there was no choice but to say yes. I'm salivating just looking at this. I should begin by saying that I do love regu

August Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets

Chef Amya a.k.a. The Pie Queen at the Ark Hills Marche with her killer pies. The heat seems to come and go, but thankfully, the markets and the farmers remain steady for the most part. August marks the time of Obon, when people return to family lands to welcome home the spirits of their ancestors back for their annual visit. This can mean that some farmers and markets will not be there when you might hope they are. I've noted on the schedule wherever possible that this may be the case, but be prepared. My suggestion might be to whip up a favorite recipe from your own family and welcome them to your kitchen this month. I'm sure they would be glad. Greenmarket Sumida *No Market Until September!* (Disappointing, but true.) Just over the bridge from Senso-ji is the newest market in the heart of the city. A collaborative effort between the local government and the same folks who manage Market of the Sun and Yokohama's Kitanaka Marche,  Greenmarket Sumida  aims to fill