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Showing posts from March, 2018

April Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama

Cesar Hernandez of Romero's Salsa at the Vancouver, Washington Farmers Market. As the wind blusters about outside and the sakura (cherry trees) shake their blossoms, April arrives on the doorstep. The new month brings with it ever increasing harvests and rapidly changing menus. Head to the markets this month to find sansai (mountain vegetables) , early greens, late daikon, and even some seedlings to get your own garden off to a good start! Earth Day Market Sunday, April 1 I could wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. However, 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! 10am to 4pm, Rain or shine Map Greenmarket Sumida Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8 Just over the bridge from Senso-ji is the newest market in the heart of the city. A collaborative effort b

Thursday Snapshot: A Slice of Blue Pine

Detail of a slice of blue pine at Metalwood Salvage . On our last day in Portland, Oregon we strolled about a neighborhood not too far from the airport and not too far from where we started this latest adventure. We stumbled on Metalwood Salvage . Perhaps one of the most interesting places I have seen in some time, they carry a somewhat curated collection of scrap metal, glass, and wood that answers the call of practicality and whimsy alike. There was nothing we needed but much that we would gladly have taken away with us including this slice of blue pine. Named for the color of the fungus spread by the Mountain Pine Beetle , a native beetle to this side of the country, blue pine is the result of the beetles newfound energy with the changing climate. Cold winters kept the population in check, but the changing climate and warmer summers give it plenty of time to work. Particularly long warm snaps can result in large stands of dead wood or snags as they are called out here. Getting

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

Bright Swiss Chard bundles at the Portland State University Farmers Market. Hard to believe the month is almost done, but March is winding down. Rain or shine, the blossoms keep coming as do the vegetables. Seasons don't stop for inconvenient weather or even when we want to pause in the best of it. Head on out to say hello to the growers and producers serving up some of the best their fields have to offer. Enjoy! Kamome Marche Saturday, March 24 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 former capitals. Head in early to get the best selection and

Thursday Snapshot: Tidal Pools and Ocean Cliffs

Near Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast. Our time along the Oregon Coast has been simply spectacular. We have explored and visited various places along the way and been astounded every time. There is something remarkable about the ocean and where it meets the land. While I love the prairies, I find life here mesmerizing.

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

Brianna at Bernard's Farm on the way to Newport, Oregon. Go for a closer look at the beautiful barn, stay for the awesome produce, eggs, and cider. Once again, the most farmers-markety weekend of the month is upon us. Spring is in full swing, and cherry blossoms are making their presence known. Get the jump on your hanami (blossom viewing) supplies and a few surprise treats to share with friends. Nanohana (rape blossoms) should also be in abundance this weekend, so don't be shy about picking up a bundle or two. You can make them the traditional way or add them to salad for a cheerful touch. Whatever you decide, have fun and make the most of it! Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi Sunday, March 18 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,

Thursday Snapshot: Yaquina Head Lighthouse Lens

A side view of the magnificent Fresnel lens at Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Our visit to the Oregon coast included a full three days at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area . A regular ticket is good for three days, so we made the most of it by exploring Cobblestone Beach and its magical tidal pools, watching seals loll about in Quarry Cove at high tide, and marveling at the great rafts of common murre that fed and chatted just beyond the cliffs. The lens, though, of Yaquina Head Lighthouse itself is worth a visit. Manufactured in Paris and shipped over in pieces, the Fresnel lens is a magnificent working piece of art atop this still functioning lighthouse. Assembled on location using brass nuts and bolts, no pieces have been replaced and only two have chips. Our guide informed us that these occurred during transport, not while it has been in use.

Portland State University Farmers Market: A Review

Glorious bouquets at the market. Our recent travels took me to Portland, Oregon for a visit with friends and family. Of course, they graciously joined me on a foray over to one of the weekend markets happening in that lovely city, the Portland State University Farmers Market. Set deep in the heart of the city on the campus of Portland State University, I found a delightful crowd of vendors and immediately lost myself in the sights and smells of a bustling weekly market. Even in winter, when apparently the market is half of its summer size, there was plenty to choose from to set a table for the week. Awesome baby carrots! (I somehow neglected to take a photo of the orchard table...) My first stop of Kiyokawa Orchards . Recommended by a friend, the orchards are plum full (pun intended) of delicious fruits. On that particular Saturday, they offered an excellent supply of apples - Red Delicious, Cameo a.k.a. Carousel, and Crimson Crisp -  with four kinds of pears at one end o

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11

Sign for the farmers market at Portland State University. March started out with a bang of markets, and this weekend will prove no different.  Head on out to one of these lovelies, including the new Osonbashi Marche in Yokohama, to see what delights might be found. Food is one of the great ways to get to know a person, a place, and a culture, and the markets are a gateway to that. Don't be shy, and don't worry about language. A smile, a show of interest, and sincere shared joy will take you far! Osonbashi Marche Saturday, March 10 and Sunday, March 11 This new market in Yokohama is one I have only seen a poster and website for, but not been to yet. The venue should be beautiful, and I have no doubt the offerings will be good. Keep in mind that it is relatively new, so it might be small. However, markets don't get bigger and better if you don't go to them and support the people there. I can't go this month, but I'd love to hear from anyone who does! 10:

Thursday Snapshot: Hakuba Views

A tree met while snowshoeing in Hakuba. In mid-February we took a short trip up to Hakuba in search of snow. These mountains in Nagano offer some of the country's loveliest skiing and most beautiful views. The day this photo was taken we were snowshoeing along a ridge line trail. The weather was perfect, the company good, and the snow deep. We saw rabbits, a variety of birds, and tracks of plenty of other creatures that we didn't know. Clearly, though, we weren't alone out there. This lovely beast of a tree caught my eye as it stood on the edge of trail, peering into the valley below and the mountains beyond. Given it's size and girth, it has done so for a long time. I'd like to hear it's stories and see who else visits throughout the year. Near a small mountain shrine, it must be a witness to much. I was glad for the chance to meet and be added to its register of guests.

Kakurinbo: A Recommended Retreat

Walking among the grand cedars on the way up to Kuonji. Off in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture is a charming little shokubo (pilgrim inn) that rests in a nook of the mountain where Kuonji, head temple of the Nichiren sect, sits. There I enjoyed some of the best local, seasonal food I have ever had in Japan and one of the steepest sets of temple stairs. It is a peaceful, stunning place that I can't recommend enough. Whether cycling by, planning a hike in the nearby mountains, or just hoping to get away, it is a wonderful place.  Read my article about my stay , and then head over to find out for yourself.

Experience Farms and Community Gardens: How to Get Gardening in Japan

A happy first-time gardener with her winter daikon at a taiken nouen. I'm often asked if I know how people can find a little spot of their own to grow something in Japan. This post offers a variety of links to help people get started on their hunt. Shimin Nouen (Community Gardens) Shimin nouen (community gardens) and taiken nouen (experience farms) are a great way to get a little garden, get involved with the community here, and have some tasty fun, too. Shimin nouen tend to be run by local governments - cities, prefectures, or towns - and are scattered about the area. There will be rules about managing the plot, possibly about what materials (organic or not) can be used, pets, children, and possibly even times of access. Terms of use may be limited to two or three years in popular locations, while in others the spot is yours for the growing as long as you like. My shimin nouen is actually a local club activity with some rules but no term limits. More of this kind do exi

March Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama

More deliciousness from the Moroccan Marche at Zounohana Terrace. Check out their cool events this month , too! This month brings us one step closer to full-fledged Spring, so put some eagerness in your step as you head out to one or more of these great markets. The Earth Day Market is popping up on the first weekend of the month, and the Greenmarket Sumida is back! Hooray! I'm also sharing information about a new market in Yokohama, the Osonbashi Marche, that I recently learned about but haven't had a chance to visit yet. Down on the water in a beautiful venue, it should be worth checking out. Let me know what you find if you go! Meanwhile, enjoy the usual round-up and see what tasty treasures can be found. As always, there will be no shortage, I am sure! Earth Day Market Sunday, March 4 I could wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. However, I'll just insist that folks go