Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

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Chuck2
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Chuck2 »

Hi Carol,
As stated by Zasso Nouka, I grow fruit, peaches and grapes to be exact. Gonbechan and Zasso Nouka, did a pretty good job of answer all your questions so I don't have much to add.

Like Gonbechan said fruit in Japan is really expensive. Here is why I think it is so expensive. Growing fruit in Japan is mostly all done by hand, I try and make every peach and bunch of grapes to be a work of art. I count each bunches berries because I want it to be a certain weight and size, and by doing this increase the chances of sweetness and flavor. I do a lot of leaf canopy pruning, tying, hedging. In Japan, we have a lot of rain which makes it hard to grow grapes. To minimize the effects of the rain, and reduce the need of chemical sprays Japanese grape growers, grow vines under tunnels and cover individual bunches with paper bags. We also use special lights at night to keep away moths. All of this cost a lot of money which gets passed onto the customer.

sunflowerhk
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by sunflowerhk »

Many thanks for the rich information, everyone. Honestly, I am quite disappointed by what I have learnt. Eating healthy and clean (organic food, clean from chemicals) is really huge for me. And fruits and veggies are also huge for me. The majority of my diet is fruits and veggies. I am from Hong Kong and have rented small plots to practice growing my own veggies. I have also spent almost a year wwwoofing in farms to learn about farm life and farm work. My goal to live or "homestead" in rural Japan to live a simple life growing my own veggies. Is this a realistic goal in Japan? Maybe I should open a new post about this question...

Anyway back to the question about organic fruits and veggies in Japan... Since I cannot grow everything and also before I can realize my long-term goal I would also need to live in an urban setting for some years. So, being able to purchase and have easy access to clean food is important to me. I have a few more questions..

1. Why are there no citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, but only peaches, watermelon, banana?

2. That made me wonder if Japanese people don't eat much fruits and veggies? It seems that they mostly eat just some carbs with meat, the only veggies they eat is a side dish like some bean sprouts, some pickled radish, carrots, etc.

3. Are there no open-air farmers markets in Japan? where veggies is not individually packed and wrapped in plastic? and veggies and fruits not looking super huge and super clean and perfect-looking? The fact that they look too perfect worries me for using too many chemicals and interventions. I am attracted to Japan because of the natural farming method by Fukuoka but it seems this is rarely practiced? Also, I cringe at the massive use of plastic... isn't Japan quite environmentally conscious, given the meticulous way of separating the trash? Why do they use so much plastic and packaging for food? Isn't it a contradiction?

Sorry for my ignorance. Please correct me if I am wrong.

VanillaEssence
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by VanillaEssence »

1. Plenty of citrus here, it’s just out of season right now (I think)
2. From what I have experienced, the general intake of vegetables by Japanese people is low. Interesting for a diet that is often heralded as one of the worlds best.
3. They exist! Check your area. As for plastic, yes they tend to use a lot, I think in general Japanese people prioritise the perceived condition of the fruit/veg over environmental concerns.

Others may have more to add

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by gonbechan »

You can rent little plots to grow your own food.
there is a website to find ones in different areas.

Share=Batake

MyFarm

there are many more localised sites to search from too.

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by VanillaEssence »

gonbechan wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 7:27 pm
You can rent little plots to grow your own food.
there is a website to find ones in different areas.

Share=Batake

MyFarm

there are many more localised sites to search from too.
Is there anything you don’t have a useful link for gonbechan? Truly a god among forum users

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by gonbechan »

baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw (blush)

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

sunflowerhk wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:14 pm
Anyway back to the question about organic fruits and veggies in Japan... Since I cannot grow everything and also before I can realize my long-term goal I would also need to live in an urban setting for some years. So, being able to purchase and have easy access to clean food is important to me. I have a few more questions..

1. Why are there no citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, but only peaches, watermelon, banana?
As @VanillaEssence said, it's the wrong season. Over here fruit and veggies tend to be seasonal. Sure you can find things like bell peppers in supermarkets all year round but a lot of fresh produce is seasonal. Soon it will be nashi season and there will be nashi everywhere, then mikan and yuzu will start to be on the shelves. It's actually quite nice to look forward to something coming into stock, then eating loads of it and finally getting to the point you've eaten too much and don't want any more till next year. Imported grapefruits are available all year round, same for pineapples.

In our area we have some guys from Tohoku that drive down in the autumn and go door to door selling apples and other fruit from their area. Mrs Nouka always stocks up when they come to visit and their prices are quite reasonable as it hasn't been through the whole supermarket supply chain.
sunflowerhk wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:14 pm
2. That made me wonder if Japanese people don't eat much fruits and veggies? It seems that they mostly eat just some carbs with meat, the only veggies they eat is a side dish like some bean sprouts, some pickled radish, carrots, etc.
Gonna have to disagree with you on that one. If you only see what restaurants serve then yes it would seem like that but at my mother in laws house she cooks loads of vegetables and makes lots of her own pickles. Yes there will be some kind of meat or fish with each meal but also loads of vegetables.
sunflowerhk wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:14 pm
3. Are there no open-air farmers markets in Japan? where veggies is not individually packed and wrapped in plastic? and veggies and fruits not looking super huge and super clean and perfect-looking? The fact that they look too perfect worries me for using too many chemicals and interventions. I am attracted to Japan because of the natural farming method by Fukuoka but it seems this is rarely practiced? Also, I cringe at the massive use of plastic... isn't Japan quite environmentally conscious, given the meticulous way of separating the trash? Why do they use so much plastic and packaging for food? Isn't it a contradiction?
Over this way there are plenty of farmer's markets outside of the big cities, they aren't advertised and tend to only run for a few hours early on a sunday morning but you can buy directly from the growers. Quite likely it won't be organic but it's not going to kill you.

Also over here practically every town or city has it's own city run farm shop where you can buy locally grown produce, it may or may not be organic. Yes each bunch of komatsuna will be in it's own plastic bag and that might be a little excessive but it is what it is, Japan is different to other countries but it is slowly changing. Now you hardly ever see anyone getting plastic shopping bags at the supermarket, nearly everyone brings their own eco bags and at our local packaging supplier they are starting to get more eco friendly packaging.

Japan is a country of contrasts, everyone neatly sorts their rubbish and if you put the wrong type of rubbish in the wrong bag it will get rejected and you will have to perform the walk of shame taking your rubbish bag back home with a big sticker explaining what you did wrong but also at the same time people will quite happily dump their old fridge or washing machine or even old car in the local forest. However even that is changing and electrical stores in our area now pick up your old device when they deliver a new one and when you buy a new car the recycling fee is included in the cost of the car so that is slowly cutting down on the dumping problem. Is it perfect ? No. Is it changing ? Yes, slowly.
sunflowerhk wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:14 pm
also before I can realize my long-term goal I would also need to live in an urban setting for some years.
Something to think about is how are you going to get a long term visa ? Do you have an employer that will sponsor a visa or are you married to a Japanese national or do you have permanent residence status ?

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by gonbechan »

sunflowerhk wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 5:14 pm

2. That made me wonder if Japanese people don't eat much fruits and veggies? It seems that they mostly eat just some carbs with meat, the only veggies they eat is a side dish like some bean sprouts, some pickled radish, carrots, etc.

While this might not be true of young people living alone, Japanese people on the whole tend to eat lots of small veggie dishes at one meal.
Red meat is not often eaten and is more of a treat than a common daily thing.
Fish, chicken and pork are more common, with the average single serving of 'meat' being around 100~150g per person.
Vegetables will be what is in season as side dishes or in miso soup or dashi soup or in winter often in ni-mono (slowly cooked dishes) or nabe (hotpot).
There are also many varieties of pickles that are consumed with the meals.

Its true that a lot of people do not eat a traditional Japanese breakfast anymore, with toast and egg being more popular for people on the go, but even then in a lot of households, they will have some tomato or a salad on the side or some fruit as well.

Fruit, because it is expensive, is often cut up and shared as a snack or treat in the afternoon or after dinner.

Also on average Japanese servings are way smaller than western ones and even Chinese ones.

Simply googling 'typical Japanese home cooked meal' will bring a up plethora of images for you to get a general idea of what is eaten.

I will post some here for you if that makes it easier.
As you can see from this selection, there is no one size fits all.

Image

Image

Image

Image

sunflowerhk
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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by sunflowerhk »

Thank you very much. Loving the Japanese food presentation!

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Organic veggies and fruits in Japan?

Post by donguri »

There are organic fruits and vegetables, rice etc available in Japan, but they're not nearly as prevalent as in the US or Europe, for example. And certainly not marketed like they are overseas. Industrial scale farming, that is so prevalent in the US, for example, doesn't happen as much here. That often translates to higher prices for labor intensive items like fruit.

When citrus season hits, you'll turn orange from so much citrus!

It may take some time to find organic sources, but they exist. There are small groups of folks doing shared organic gardens, or community garden spaces, CSA is small, but growing. Varieties of fruits and veggies available may be different than what you're used to, but there is a wide range. Eat locally, eat seasonal, eat fresh and you won't be disappointed!

I live in the countryside and have my own organic vegetable garden and some fruit trees, am surrounded by lots of people who grow rice, tea, vegetables, fruit. Most of those folks are not growing organically, but they don't use much more than manure, lime and fertilizer. So I feel like there's an abundance of great, fresh, seasonal stuff to eat.

It's a bit of a perception change though, if living in the city and shopping at a big market, the selection at a farm market or michi no eki may seem limited. Then again, some things are available only at michi no eki and never make it into the city shops, because they are only grown in small quantity or there's no distribution to supermarkets. Right now almost everything available to me is green- cucumbers, shishitou, zucchini, piman, sasage, with a bit of red (tomatoes) and purple (egglplants) thrown in! That's the season.

On the whole, I think Japanese people eat quite a lot of vegetables. The preparations may be unfamiliar, and the portions, in general, are small so it's not like one BIG salad or a plate full of broccoli with cheese sauce.

Give yourself some time to explore and discover and try!