Date : March 18, 2008
Report: March 18, 2008 【”Agriculture in Tokyo” Press Tour】
post date : 2013.08.30
Featuring farming in the Tokyo Metropolis, “Agriculture in Tokyo" Press Tour series vol. 1 covered such traditional “Edo vegetables” as "Komatsuna" and "Kameido Daikon", which go back to the Edo period. A total of 11 journalists from South Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., France, Germany, Israel and the EU participated, and they felt the passion and enthusiasm of the local people who are committed to preserving the old food culture.
【Komatsuna as a Local Character】 ---click above In Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, the national top production center of Komatsuna, local farmers, including Mr. Zen-ichi Ishikawa, Chairman, Farmers' Club in Edogawa, whose farm has a history originating from the Edo period, have been growing Komatsuna on their own fields in the middle of residential area. Aiming to establish "Edogawa brand" of Komatsuna, the administration of Edogawa Ward, local growers and a university formed a team to promote komatsuna. Moreover, local industries are keen to create such new products with Komatsuna as Komatsuna soba/udon noodles, Komatsuna shochu (distilled spirit), and Komatsuna ice cream. "Chisan-chisho", or "local production for local consumption", is a buzzword of today. Local elementary schools in Edogawa Ward are willing to make it happen to their school lunches using locally produced komatsuna as a key factor for "shoku-iku", or dietary education. Mr. Yasuo Seki, Principal, Kami-isshiki-minami Elementary School says "We'd like children to learn to develop a love for their home town, eating meals with locally produced vegetables. "It’s tough being farmers in the metropolis", says Mr. Ishikawa, komatsuna grower, "but we are proud of being farmers in Edogawa Ward and wish to continue working here as long as we can." And he carries it out. 【Comeback Story of Kameido Daikon】 ---click below In Kameido, Koto Ward, Tokyo, a Japanese restaurant, Masumoto, created a special local menu named "kameido daikon asari nabe", a combination of the vegetable and short-necked clams. Thanks to their collaborator who is a local grower of kameido-daikon, Japanese radish, they can still serve this old-fashioned everyday dish. Kameido-daikon was totally forgotten around1967-68. However, the contributor to its comeback was the previous manageress of this restaurant. Still, there were some remainig seed at the time. She asked the local farmers to grow it and kameido daikon again came in the spotlight. Another hero behind the scene of the comeback is Mr. Toichi Suzuki, 80-year-old kameido daikon grower, who took over the farm in Katsushika Ward, next to Koto Ward, from his father, grand father and great grand father. He continued producing kameido daikon alone in his farm, while the farmers in Kameido, a birthplace of kameido daikon, totally abondoned to do that. Asked by the previous manageress of the restaurant, he has been growing kameido daikon for more than three decades exclusively for the restaurant. "Only Mr. Suzuki was capable of getting a real kameido-daikon back and he produces excellent ones!", says Mr. Mitsunobu Tsukamoto, the current President, Masumoto Foods Inc, giving of his seal of approval. "A kameido-daikon is so small that you could eat leaves, too. They are good enough to be eaten", talks Mr. Suzuki about his daikon, with the old Tokyo dialect that now rarely heard. "I do feel it is worth doing, as nobody else does it. I hope I can leave something behind me", he adds not too eagerly but lightly, even philosophically.