Tag Archives: Organic Vegetables

Healthy Oranges in a Healthy Environment: Shiratori Orchard in Izu Peninsula

Healthy Oranges in a Healthy Environment!

Last Monday I somehow managed to get a full day free (and I certainly needed the whole of it!). My good friend Yasushi Imaizumi/今泉康 drove me on a grand tour of the Eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Our destination was a remote place deep south the eastern coast of Izu Peninsula.

The day was just gorgeous!
Absolutely blue skies and mild temperatures.
We just couldn’t help taking pictures of snow-capped Mount Fuji on the way!

It took us (Yasushi) three hours to drive down to Shirata/白田, near the minuscule fishing harbor of Inatori/稲取, in Kamo Gun/賀茂郡, only a short distance from Shimoda City/下田市.

There, we discovered the oranges orchard of the Shiratori Family with an incredible view over the ocean. By clear weather you can see as far as Oshima/大島 Island!

Miyoko Shiratori/白鳥美代子, a live-in student, her daughter-in-law, Hiroko/弘子, her son, Takehisa/岳寿 and her husband, Ryuusaku/龍作.

Mr. Ryuusaku Shiratori/白鳥龍作 (82), was a seventh generation of growers of rice, tea, oranges and wasabi back in Shizuoka City until he decided to move there 40 years ago to become the first of three generations of orange growers.
This must have been the right choice as he and his wife Miyoko/美代子 could pose in any magazines as models of incredibly healthy longevity!

Having bought those 2 ha of steep terrain, he had it buldozzed into shelves within three days!

I can tell you that you need good feet and good eyes to move through the orchard!

He has never looked back since then!
He is presently helped by his son Takehisa/岳寿 (54), his daughter-in-law, Hiroko/弘子 (49) and his grandson Tatsumi/達巳 (26). They also get the very much needed hands of a live-in student from Shizuoka City.

Ryuusaku Shiratori demonstrating cuttings to my friend Yasushi.

They do grow many varieties of oranges and one of them, a hybrid developed by Ryuusaku, Shiratori Hyuuga/白鳥日向 (developed from Hyuuga Natsu/日向夏 from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu Island) has been registered with the Japanese Agriculture & Forestry Ministry!
Actually, he is quite well-known as no later than a week before a whole Tokyo HHK TV crew of 10 staff and 2 cameras spent a whole day there!

These Hyuuga Shiratori oranges are carefully pruned away to leave only the best fruit which are wrapped in paper for better fruition!

Another view of the trees!

The wrapping takes days and days!

40-years old trees! They can be harvested until the grand age of 60 years!

Trees are propagated with cuttings planted directly into the soil.
These new trees will be completely pruned for 4~5 years before harvesting the first oranges.

100% organic culture is impossible, but the Shiratoris reckon that their orchard is more than 90% organic. The second and third generations have actually been awarded the title of Ecofarmers by the Government!
Fertilizer is practically organic. You understand it when you see the beautiful grass growing between the trees.
As for pests, they use the very minimum of pesticides and introduce natural enemies of such pests such as ladybugs and other carnivorous insects!
Pollination is done either by hand, with the help of the wind, or with rented bees!

Their Shiratori Hyuuga oranges, although seedless and full of juice, will take two more months to mature to a tasty and sweet juice.


This beauty is not ready yet!

New Summer Oranges (will be mature in May!)

As I said, they grow many varieties to organize a constant harvest and delivery.
Among them Haruka/晴香, Ponkan/ポンカン, and New Summer Oranges are extremely popular.

Ponkan ready for harvest and delivery!

They do grow and experiment with other fruit such as loquats/biwa/琵琶!

Although great exposure to the sun and big differences of temperature between day and night are welcome, the wind isn’t!
To fend off the wind, Ryuusaku planted hedges of camelias/tusbaki/椿.
He likes them so much that he made a point to plant as many varieties as possible. He invited me to admire them next February!

They do also grow a lot of their own food, such as these shiitake mushrooms and string beans I was offered to take back home with a whole bunch of ponkan!

Since I have to make at least two more trips expect more pics and explanations!

Shiratori Orchard/白鳥農園
413-0304 Shizuoka Ken, Kamo Gun, Higashi izu Cho, Shirata, 1742
413-0304 静岡県賀茂郡東伊豆町白田1742
Tel./Fax: 0557-95-2083
Mobile phone: 090-7025-6659

Check their HOMEPAGE for orange varieties, prices and orders!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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Kiwi Fruits & Agritourism at Kiwifruit Country Japan

Masatoshi and Tsuneyo Hirano/平野正俊・常代 at Kiwifruit Country Japan in Kakegawa City.

“Let’s introduce the greatness of the nature, importance of agriculture and taste of the real thing! Let’s learn together! Discover the valuable life!” is Masatoshi Hirano’s motto, in his own words, for farm management.

Entrance to Kiwifruit Country Japan

Mr. Masatoshi Hirano (and his two sons, too) speaks fluent English, because he spent a long time researching about citruses in four different States in the US before starting agriculture at his parents’ farm. His family has seen a lot of history go by as he is the 19th generation!
Nonetheless, as a youngster he understood that tradition was one thing, and good farming management another.

Kiwi fruits across the parking lot!

This led him, originally against his parents’ disagreement, to enlarge the family enterprise and introduce new cultures.
One was that of kiwifruit which he started from a single spoonful of seeds he had brought back home!

Agritour programs in front of the shop.

Then for the last 21 years he has expanded the cultivated land to include the largest Kiwifruit Agritour Orchard in Japan, tea, organic citruses, organic vegetables, organic edible flowers, space for domestic animals (as food and pets), self service stand direct sale shop, a whole forest for kids and adults alike, a BBQ area capable of welcoming 500 guests, a campsite, onsite field classes for children and students and agritours for Japanese and foreigners.

Baby goat.

A pet sheep.

A pet goat.

Pet rabbits.

Mischievous baby goats!

A baby pig, not a wild boar!

A peacock (there are two varieties, actually!)!

Kiwifruits, according to varieties (he grows 80 of them and conduct experiments on 500!), are either grown in an enormous greenhouse (which also serves as an BBQ and event space) or in open-air fields.

This kiwifruit tree wood is actually very popular with local artists!
Another great way to recycle nature!

Greenhouse-grown kiwifruit on display for practical information!

Kiwifruit varieties ready for sampling!

One can study about kiwifruits in Japanese and English while eating them!

Chickens for their meat and eggs.

More chickens!

And even more chickens! These are pets kept together with rabbits!

And more chickens. These always seem hungry!

The whole range of edible organic flowers and mountain vegetables/sansai/山菜 grown on site!

Organic shiitake.

Organic pumpkins!

Peaceful sheep.

Organic mandarines/mikan/蜜柑.

The grass and plants are left to grow naturally from the soil mixed with natural compost.

Another variety of organic mandarines.

Tea fields.

Vast open-fields of kiwifruit trees. Would you believe that Mr. Hirano pollinate them all by hand? A back and shoulder-breaking work!

A view inside the very old forest. It is actually crossed by a centuries-old path!

Small concerts are organized in that space inside the forest!

A kids’ heaven!

Look at these air-breathing roots. Now, this is an ancient tree!

100% organic potatoes sold at the shop!

Kiwis on sale at the shop.
One can eat as many as one wants onsite for a fee!

All kinds of varieties and packaged kiwifruit can be sent all over Japan directly from the shop!

These are the ones I took back hoe!

Obviously this is only the first of a long series of articles as the place will have to be visited every month by your servant or reporters from Agrigraph!

Kiwi Fruit Country/Experience & Learning Farm
Masatoshi & Tsuneyo Hirano
436-0012 Shizuoka Ken, Kakegwa Shi, Kamiuchida, 2040
Tel.: 0537-22-6543
Fax: 0537-22-7498
Free dial: 0120-014791
E-mail: wbs02626@mail.wbs.ne.jp
HOMEPAGE(Japanese, but phone calls can be taken in English)

Business hours: 09:00~17:00
BBQ (even by rainy weather) and tours possible on reservation.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm: Visit by “47 Japanese Farms” in Shizuoka City!

Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 of Shizen No Chikara Organic Farm explaining his craft to Roshni Nirody and Sara Harriger of the U.S. Department of State

Ms. Roshni M. Nirody (from New Jersey) and Ms. Sara Harriger (Alaska) employed by the U.S. Department of State working for the Foreign Service Institute, Japanese language and Area Training Center at the U.S. Embassy in Japan paid us a visit in Shizuoka City!
Not only these young ladies speak very good Japanese on top of their native language but even more languages, a undisputable proof of their ability for their jobs!
They have initiated their own grand three and a half year project at 47 Farms to examine Japanese agriculture through interviews and working farm stays with farmers in each of Japan`s 47 prefectural entities!
Read more HERE, it is certainly worth a very long look!
To cut a story short they contacted me as they wanted to discover what Shizuoka Farms had in store for them!
Actually Shizuoka does have a lot, but to make easier for their first visit I and a staff at M2 labo decided to take them to new but already very influential Organic Farm in Shizuoka City and Prefecture called Shizen No Chikara Farm.

Organic Tomatoes!

Shizen No Chikara Farm has plots in Sena, Shimo, Nippon Daira and many others in the Prefecture.
We took them to Sena where the man in charge, Syunsuke Sano/佐野俊介 was kind enough to explain his crafts and answer quite a few very pointed questions from our lady guests!

All the cultivation is organic in the strict sense with no insecticides, or any agrichemicals.
The insects are fought off with natural repellents concocted by the farmers, catch fly sticky tapes or with natural enemies such as ladybugs!

Temperature and humidity are constantly checked and monitored!

For the moment they grow five varieties of tomatoes there!

These will go to the top restaurants in the Prefecture!

Now, Shizen No Chikara succeeded a very difficult organic cultivation at their first attempt: strawberries!

The strawberries are not allowed to come in contact with the floor or soil!
No need to mention this is all daily back-breaking work!

The greenhouse has its own beehive!

Even the beehive is kept super clean!

The bees are vital for a regular pollination and beautiful berries!

Organic mini daikon!

We then proceeded to the plot in Shimo to have a look at the their root and leaf vegetables!

Row of mini daikons!

Komatsuna left to look after their harvested rows!

Hosonegi/scallions/mini leeks!

Leeks are great to fight common colds!

Big white daikons!

Japanese gastronomy wouldn’t exist without these!

Beautiful radishes and turnips just harvested!

The same in their rows!

This visit was all too short for my own satisfaction and I already have invited our sweet visitors to come again as soon as possible!
I’m already planning visits to Numazu and Fujinomiya Cities!
Our two ladies are not only lovers of agriculture but also gastronomes. I have a few breweries and izakayas in mind for them!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Kitayama Organic Farm: Great Chefs meet Great Farmers in Fujinomiya City!

Fuminori Nishitani/藤谷文紀 of Nori in Fujieda City, Tooru Arima/有馬亨 of Pissenlit in Shizuoka City and the Hirakakis, Masaaki and Kiko/平垣正明・紀子 at Kitayama Organic Farm/北山農園 in Fujinomiya City!

Today I finally had the honor and pleasure to introduce two of the very top chefs in Shizuoka Prefecture, namely Fuminori Nishitani/藤谷文紀 of Nori in Fujieda City and Tooru Arima/有馬亨 of Pissenlit in Shizuoka City to the Hirakakis, Masaaki and Kiko/正明・紀子, owners and producers at Kitayama Organic Farm/北山農園 in Fujinomiya City!
This had been long in the offing and the three of us decided to drive this Tuesday all the way from Shizuoka City to Fujinomiya City at the very foot of Mount Fuji to visit the Organic Farm of the Kitayamas not only for a formal meeting but also to establish a gastronomic event to take place in the very near future!

The Hirakakis have refurbished this ancient farmhouse on their own!
Both were professional photographers before deciding to venture in organic farming!

Pure water gushing down the slopes of Mount Fuji is one reason why Fujinomiya City is so celebrated for its superlative agriculture!

Having gone through the necessary introductions I made myself scarce after a while to let them discuss their plans.
The two chefs had struck on the idea of a collaboration dinner at Restaurant Pissenlit on the 10th of March based on the vegetables grown by the Kitayamas whose merits I had praised for some time.

Some of their vegetables on the table around which they were sitting…

Delicious pickles from the same vegetables.
Sorry for the fuzzy pictures but it was very dark inside the farmhouse!

More pickles…

While they were deep in talks I took a peek inside a greenhouse behind the farmhouse.
What are these?

All kinds of sliced radishes and turnips left to dry!

Swiss chards!

I came back to find them snacking on dried sweet potatoes!

Artichokes that will be harvested beginning of next summer!

Time had finally come to make a grand tour of the 3 ha where the Kitayamas grow more than 190 varieties of organic vegetables at different times of the year!

Golden carrot!

Burgundy carrot!

Cute orange carrot!

Purple daikon field!

The purple daikon!

To be frank, there were so many kinds I didn’t have the time to write down their names! Shall we call these mini thread purple and white daikon?

Komatsuna!

Romanesco broccoli!

Red daikon field!

Organic cabbages!

Organic red cabbages!

Shimonita leeks field!

Highly valued variety of leek in Japan!

Some of the beauties I took back home!

Looking forward to visiting the Kitayamas again next spring!

KITAYAMA ORGANIC FARM

Masaaki and Kiko Hirakaki
418-0112 Fujinomiya Shi, Kitayama, 3102
Tel./Fax: 0544-25-2795
Mobile phone: 090-2261-8821
HOMEPAGE
Private orders welcome over the phone!

PISSENLIT

420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
E-Mail: pissenlit2008@ybb.ne.jp
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

NORI

426-0204 Shizuoka Ken, Fujieda Shi, Tokigaya, 864-3
Tel./Fax: 054-641-4778
Opening hours: 11:30~14:00; 18:00~22:00
On reservation only for dinner
Closed on Tuesdays and first Monday
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese, but do check it for great photographs of the house and garden!)
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery