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Showing posts from April, 2018

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

A big bowl of goodness from Wish Fresh Salad at the UNU Farmers Market. As the month winds down, temperatures are starting to rise. The first week of May will find growers and producers, at least in the Tokyo region, setting seeds in furrows and seedlings out in fields. Don't miss these great markets to catch some of the last of the winter vegetables and see what might be just starting to arrive! Kamome Marche Saturday, April 28 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 pick up a loaf of

Thursday Snapshot: Dandelions After the Rain

Dandelion seed heads after a recent rain. I am a big fan of the dandelion. I do tend to post about them here and their benefits for the soil, but I just can't help myself. Plus, they are still just glorious. I love how they shimmer and shine, whether as sunny yellow blooms or delicate globes of seeds. Dandelions all aglow at the end of the day. I love how they pull nutrients up from deep in the soil and help work the soil with a delicacy and efficiency I can only imagine. I love how they taste in my salad and how they make a lovely mulch when laid on the soil. I am probably one of the few who shamelessly encourage them to grow in my garden, but gladly accept what they offer and make room for more. There's nothing to lose.

Tambo Art Project Planting in Soma!

Photo courtesy of Soma Tambo Art Project . For those hankering to get their hands in some soil this Spring, please consider joining this wonderful trip to Soma. Tomoyuki Endo, a local rice farmer, Hideharu Asanuma, an architect with Youkei Design Group, along with Tomohito and Nagisa Minowa of Minowa Farms in Chiba, started the project in 2014. It was the first year residents of Soma were allowed to grow rice, and the group wanted to do something that would boost the morale of residents, attract new people to the area, and be beautiful, too. So far, so good. The field sits just below a levy that is a favorite walking path for people in the area. While it is not as large as those in Aomori, it is a potent annual work of art. Visitors and locals alike have a chance to mix and mingle while planting rice by hand, sharing meals and stories. Over the years, friendships have grown, and while I don't know of any weddings yet, I wouldn't be surprised. For the people of Soma, it i

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmer's Markets: Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22

Kevin and Carie of C and K Orchards at the Newport Farmers Market. What better way to celebrate Earth Day this year than to head on out to one of these great markets? Climate change is real, and evidence for our role in it well-proven. The least we can do, it seems to me, is support local growers, especially those who implement organic methods and practice permaculture on their land. These are the people that, in the long run, will feed the rest of us and help us rebuild our communities. And even if you don't believe that, you can believe in the good food they offer up from their fields day in and day out. Celebrate that, at least, and head on out to the market. Koenji Farmers Market Saturday, April 21* Spotted a handful of years ago while riding the Chuo Line,  this little market  is still going strong. A circle of red awnings in front of the  Za-Koenji Public Theatre  marks the spot where friendly folks with good food and interesting stories await. *A wee bit of a best g

Thursday Snapshot: Salamanders in the Garden

Salamander loitering on the bag of leaves in my garden. These little guys seem to have taken up residence in my garden this year. Perhaps feasting on the large number of frogs that have been cavorting there of late, they seem to also enjoy the leaves I spread as mulch last fall. A quick bit of research shows that they also eat a number of garden pests, although, they are somewhat indiscriminate. I like the frogs and some of the other critters they like to dine on, but still I'm happy to see them. I don't use chemicals of any kind in the garden, and I have made an effort to leave various bits of debris in place. This isn't just because I am a wee bit lazy (I am), but because I know that the various creatures that help me garden make good use of those dried stems, bits of wood, and jumbled messes of old vines for hibernating, sheltering families, and snacking on garden pests . It's nice to build community of all kinds.

Vancouver Farmers Market: A Short Review

The Vancouver Farmers Market in March! I can't go anywhere without trying to visit the local farmers market. So, even though we had just a couple of days with a good friend and her family in Vancouver, Washington, I dragged everyone with me to the local market. Bautista Farm apples! Dubbed as Washington State's second largest market, the Vancouver Farmers Market is set smack dab in the center of the town's historic center and along one side of Esther Short Park. As seems normal for this part of the country, it was softly raining by the time we arrived. And as seems normal for people who live in this part of the country, they carried on mostly unfazed by the drizzle. We followed suit. Cesar Hernandez of Romero's Salsa. My first stop was to try a sample of Romero's Salsa. Big bags of homemade chips sat alongside vivid red, green and orange (one incorporates mango) salsas, and I sidled right up to try some. The chips were sturdy and flavorful, and the s

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15

Rebecca Kawanami of River Wave Foods at the Vancouver Farmers Market. Spring has certainly sprung. The sakura are well done, and the nanohana blossoms are not far behind. Farmers are busy preparing their fields for planting this year's rice, and the ume are getting fatter on the branch every day. Head on out to one of these lovely markets to see what goodies the season has brought forth most recently! Osonbashi Marche Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15* 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! 10:30am to 3:30pm Nihon-Oodoori Station Look for the exit for the International Ferry Passenger Ter

Thursday Snapshot: Cave Ceiling at Silver Falls State Park

Detail of rocks and lichen at Silver Falls State Park. Our time in Oregon was filled with a number of firsts for me: first time to see an anemone, first time to have beer with lactic acid, and the first time to walk behind a waterfall. The last is something I have wanted to do since childhood. Perhaps it was a Sherlock Holmes story or some other novel where the characters ventured behind the curtain of rushing water in the course of their adventure. Whatever the source, I'd completely forgotten about it until hiking at Silver Falls State Park . My husband, sister-in-law and I decided on our first evening to explore and stretch our legs after a long drive. By this time in our trip, I'd had more than enough of cars and driving, so the forest and a trail were welcome reprieves. I'd forgotten how much America relies on the car for every little thing, and I'd come to dread it. It was convenient, but it seemed so wasteful and silly. Why not have trains or busses that w

Newport Farmers Market: A Review

All signs point to the Newport Farmers Market! Last month, blustery weather on the Oregon coast escorted me hurriedly through the door of the Newport Farmers Market. Set in an exhibit hall on the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, the winter version of this community event was a perfect way to spend a last, rainy morning in this coastal town. Dede and the best sweet rolls on the West Coast. We stepped through the door and shook off our wet hoods to find a bustling market well underway. Our first stop was Dede Mettle's booth where beautiful breads and pastries had people waiting in line. One look at her cinnamon rolls, reminiscent of my grandmother's caramel version, was enough to get us to add ourselves to the queue. Dede, a long-time resident of Newport, previously owned a local restaurant, Volta Deli, but smiled and shook her head when I asked about it. "I don't open it anymore,"she said as a customer got ready to state their order. Her bakery business at th

Tokyo and Yokohama Farmers Markets: Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8

Nate McClellan, the Nate in Nature Nate's LLC , at the Vancouver, WA Farmers Market. The cherry blossoms have come and gone already, and now the world seems to be turning its attention to growing and greening in earnest. Fields and orchards are no different, which means good things for all of us. Nanohana and other spring delicacies are making their presence known, and amanatsu citrus, too, are looking marmalade ready. Head on out to see what these lovely markets have to offer! 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 between the local government and the same folks who manage Market of the Sun and Yokohama's Kitanaka Marche,  Greenmarket Sumida  aims to fill the supermarket gap in this old neighborhood. An excellent selection of food trucks nourish weary shoppers while the Beer Truck is often on hand to slake their thirst. 10am to 4pm Asakusa Stat

Thursday Snapshot: Patch of Sap Detail

Detail of sap "window" on hemlock (maybe) at Silver Falls State Park. We recently spent some time in Oregon exploring the coast as well as its forests. I took about a million photos during the visit, which you can see if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram . I fell in love with texture there, especially of the moss, lichen and tree barks. I simply could not get enough, and I'm going to share some of my favorites here, too. A more full view of the sap "window."  We spotted this patch of sap during a damp hike at Silver Falls State Park. I'd seen sap rings on trees in other places in Oregon, but this was the first that appeared like a window onto the tree itself. What it means exactly, I don't know, but it was stunning and still takes my breath away. I'm including both a detail of the sap and a larger picture that shows the place on the trunk as well.