Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

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sunflowerhk
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by sunflowerhk »

Hi all,

So happy to find this group! I am new and plan to move to Japan with a long-term goal of living a simple life in the countryside. But, first I will spend a few years in Fukuoka... Are most of the veggies and fruits sold in the city organic?

And what about those sold in the countryside... mostly organic? Where do people buy veggies and fruits in the countryside? Hopefully not 7-11?

Nice to meet you all :)
Carol

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Zasso Nouka
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

Hi Carol,

Welcome to Japan Simple Life and thank you for joining our little community. I can't say much about Fukuoka as I'm on the other side of the country but most fruit and veg sold in supermarkets here is not organic and likely treated with neonicotinoids. Only fruit and vegetables carrying a JAS mark can be legally sold as organic produce and obtaining JAS certification is very expensive so often only larger farming companies go for it.

Depends on the area and who is growing vegetables but at our local city run farm shop all the suppliers would often get called in for a pesticide lecture because the city had detected overly high levels of pesticide residue in crops for sale and rather than single anyone out all the farmers had to attend the lectures even if they themselves didn't used pesticides. Some cities test for residues some don't.

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by sunflowerhk »

Many thanks for your reply. :)

So, the veggie and fruit quality in Japan is not so high? And not so clean in terms of chemical residues?

What about in the countryside, where do people buy their veggies and fruits? And the veggies and fruits are of the same quality as those sold in the city, or they are more organic, more local? And not wrapped in plastic? :think:

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

sunflowerhk wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:08 am
So, the veggie and fruit quality in Japan is not so high?
I'd say the quality is very high, it's just not necessarily organic.
sunflowerhk wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:08 am
And not so clean in terms of chemical residues?
Just wash the skin before eating
sunflowerhk wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:08 am
What about in the countryside, where do people buy their veggies and fruits? And the veggies and fruits are of the same quality as those sold in the city, or they are more organic, more local? And not wrapped in plastic? :think:
Most people in the countryside buy their fruit and vegetables from the supermarket where it's the same quality as elsewhere. Many rural towns and cities also have city run farm shops called Michi No Eki where you can buy local produce often at very reasonable prices but unless it specifically states it won't be organic.

Trying to grow organically here is doable but Japanese insects are voracious and you have to accept significant losses or work quite hard to keep the insects off your growing fruit and veggies. If you are buying produce grown by a professional non organic farmer it might have been sprayed but not excessively, it's more likely the Ojiichan or Obachan supplying the local city run farm shop has thought if a little works well then more must be better.

As for plastic some fruit is sold in plastic bags other is unwrapped, probably depends on the size or softness of the fruit.

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by sunflowerhk »

Thank you very much for the informative reply :)

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

I'm not a fruit farmer as I only grow vegetables for sale so can only really speak as a consumer but I don't have a problem buying and eating Japanese fruit, we prefer organic but aren't fanatical about it. Perhaps @Chuck2 might be able to shed some light on fruit farming

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by gonbechan »

Fruit in Japan is insanely expensive. Vegetables are just expensive.
I am not sure which country you are coming from @sunflowerhk but dont expect it to be anywhere close to what you are used to.

Cheap fruit is often imported and is usually just pineapples and bananas.
We buy one large pineapple a week, cut it up and put it in an airtight container and eat our way through it until it is gone (usually 3~4 days)
Bananas in Summertime... we'll you just have to keep them in the fridge and get used to black skinned bananas. Otherwise in less than 2 days you have a bunch of liquid bananas, which will be pretty much black anyway and a thriving colony of fruit flies with permanent residency status in your home.

For us, most other fruit is a treat, or if we watch sales we get them when they don't cost an arm and a leg, but merely a few fingers and toes.

Vegetables, do not expect a wide variety. Japanese are not very adventurous with veg and what there is has only a few options unless you are shopping at an upscale or speciality market. ETA or getting a subscription box of organic veg like some of our members here grow and sell ***

Basically (but there are exceptions of course)
There are 2 types of potatoes. May Queen and Dansyaku. Of course there are Satsumaimo, the Japanese yam or sweet potato.
Usually one type of cucumber.. rather small, not very juicy. Thin skin, small seeds.
Peppers there are piman, very thin fleshed small peppers.. and then bell peppers in usually green, red and yellow/orange.
Cabbage comes in orthodox or red.
Hakusai is considered a cabbage elsewhere in the world but here it is just a hakusai.
Lettuce is usually iceberg or sunny lettuce, although recently there is sometimes more choice and also baby leaf bags of things etc.
Carrots are usually just the orange ones ... no known providence or breeding supplied by the supermarkets.
Same pretty much with pumpkin ... small and called nankin here (unless its close to Halloween then some other big things appear)
Squashes have recently started appearing in the supermarkets in the section for local growers to sell their stuff. The offerings are pretty random and its grab what you can get.
Zucchini are treated like tiny little green ingots.. not allowed to grow to normal proportions and sold like 2 in a pack for A LOT OF MONEY.
Japanese mushrooms, there is a goodly selection always and reasonably priced and great quality.
Non Japanese mushrooms are treated like zucchini.. you can buy a small pack of 5 or 6 woefully immature teeny tiny brown mushrooms for more than a big mac will cost you.
Tomatoes are the single greatest disappointment for me in Japan. I might need to make a new post just for that. LOL.

What I mean to say though is.. you shouldn't really be worrying about organic or not, packed in plastic or not... and come with absolutely no preconceptions besides the fact that Japan is not the same at all to other countries when it comes to fruit and veg.

I leave you with this.


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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

gonbechan wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 9:12 am
Vegetables, do not expect a wide variety. Japanese are not very adventurous with veg and what there is has only a few options unless you are shopping at an upscale or speciality market.
Or hook up with an organic vegetable farmer that does monthly subscription boxes containing a wide range of vegetables not commonly grown in Japan, nudge nudge wink wink ;) :)

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Post by gonbechan »

absolutely that.
I was talking about generic shopping but then I got carried away and basically had a classy whinge while thinking about the tiny mini watermelon cooling in my fridge... it cost 1000yen and I will probably eat it in 2 sittings if I restrain myself.
Luckily Señor Gonbe does not like watermelon.

so @sunflowerhk don't forget the monthly/weekly subscription boxes ... ask about them in here even. :D
I think this is the only way to really know where your stuff comes from and how it is grown etc.

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

gonbechan wrote:
Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:38 pm
and basically had a classy whinge while thinking about the tiny mini watermelon cooling in my fridge... it cost 1000yen and I will probably eat it in 2 sittings if I restrain myself.
Luckily Señor Gonbe does not like watermelon.
We got given 3 muskmelons this weekend from other farmers around us so going to cut them up and freeze them for eating and running through our kakigori machine over the next few weeks.

Luckily Mrs Nouka does not like muskmelon :twisted:, she's more of a watermelon girl.