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PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Ichikara Farms - Rebuilding Snow Country with Soba

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Ichikara Farms - Rebuilding Snow Country with Soba
The story of Ichikara Farms is one of rebirth and regeneration. Despite numerous challenges, difficulties and the ever-present unpredictability of nature, Yudo was able to transform an abandoned pasture into what is now 30 hectares of farmland in the Uonuma and Ojiya districts of Niigata. 

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Toyokuniya - Family-Farmed "Phantom" Soybeans

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Toyokuniya - Phantom Soybeans
Toyokuniya, located in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture, cultivates an heirloom variety of Japanese soybeans called “Tsukui soybean” - a once common soybean variety that has become so rare in Japan that it’s been called the “phantom soybean".

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Wassamu Seeds - Carving The Path For A New "Naked" Pumpkin Seed

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Wassamu Seeds - Carving The Path For A New "Naked" Pumpkin Seed
Toru Hirasaki helped nurture the pumpkin industry in Hokkaido by creating a business to process, package, and market "hull-less" pumpkin seeds grown from a special pumpkin variety bred in Hokkaido. Through trial and error, Toru learned how to harvest the seeds from this unusual pumpkin variety and to package the seeds to ensure freshness. In the process, he helped introduce the joy of eating pumpkins seeds to Japan!

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: A-Net Farm Tokachi - Four Generations of Rare Azuki Products

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: A-Net Farm Tokachi - Four Generations of Rare Azuki Products

In the snowy mountain town of Shimizu in Tokachi on the island of Hokkaido, the Morita family has been farming for over a century. A-Net Farm produces Japanese red beans known as azuki, which are a mainstay of Japanese desserts but are a difficult crop to grow. And while most red bean paste is made into a sugar paste known as "an", this unique no-sugar added red bean paste uses fermentation to bring out the natural sweetness the beans.

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Otoyo-cho Goishicha Cooperation - How One Man Saved 400-Years of Tradition

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Otoyo-cho Goishicha Cooperation - How One Man Saved 400-Years of Tradition
Four hundred years of tradition behind Goishi Tea were rescued by the Ogasawara family, the last remaining family of tea masters. The Ogasawara family stubbornly protected and maintained the methods behind this rare fermented tea. Nowadays, a single group of 7 farmers produce this tea, lead by the seventh generation descendent of the Ogasawara family. The tea takes over two months to produce and undergoes not one - but two! - fermentation processes. Enjoy the unique flavor of this exquisite tea.

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Shokaku - A Local Hidden Favorite Bottled and Delivered to You

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Shokaku - A Local Hidden Favorite Bottled and Delivered to You

This hand-crafted Tosa Vinegar from Shokaku was originally brewed as an ingredient at Mr Fujiwara's sushi restaurant in Itayado (near Kobe). However, thanks to the enthusiasm of his loyal customers, who kept asking for it, Mamoru Fujiwara and his wife along with his son Hironori decided to start bottling and selling the vinegar. Within years, demand had grown to the point that the family needed to build a separate workshop to handle orders. You can now enjoy this Tosa Vinegar, which once enchanted customers at Mr. Fujiwara's small unassuming sushi shop - a local fan favorite goes global!

 

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Doi Farm - Eco-Friendly Approach to Japanese Rice Farming in the Face of Global Warming

Doi Farm Rice Cultivation
Believing that "everything is a resource," Doi Farm developed an eco-friendly approach to rice farming in Nagasaki, Japan by combining rice cultivation with raising pigs. The joint management approach allows by products, which would otherwise be discarded, to be recycled back into the farm. As changes due to global warming have put increased pressure on rice farmers in Japan, Doi Farm offers a hopeful new approach to cultivating rice, while protecting the natural ecosystem.

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Morishige - Egoma Kinako Nut Balls that Defy the Odds

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Morishige - Egoma Kinako Nut Balls that Defy the Odds
Nutty, slightly sweet, and aromatic, your taste buds will be delighted by these Egoma Kinako Nut Balls from Morishige, using their specially grown perilla seeds. Morishige overcame years of struggle and losing their farm during the Great Kanto Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 to pursue their dream of producing the highest quality perilla seeds. You can taste their dedication and perseverance in these crunchy snackable treats!

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Exclusive Interview with Marunaka Shoyu - Protecting a 200 Year Old Tradition and a 3 Year Brewing Process to Create a Soy Sauce Above All Others

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Exclusive Interview with Marunaka Shoyu - Protecting a 200 Year Old Tradition and a 3 Year Brewing Process to Create a Soy Sauce Above All Others
We had the honor of sitting down with Atsuko Okabe, Executive Director of Marunaka Shoyu, to hear her story of perseverance and determination as she shares her family's 200 year old traditional soy sauce with the world. Please enjoy this inspirational and exclusive interview.

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Kenchanzuke - Preserving the Art and Tradition of Pickling in Japan

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Kenchanzuke - Preserving the Art and Tradition of Pickling in Japan

Kenchanzuke's tsukemono flakes are made from the finest vegetables produced in the Izumo region of Japan. The company hopes to preserve the traditional tastes and methods of Japanese pickling and pass it on to the next generation. The commitment of Kenchazuke to quality pickles can be seen in their motto - No matter how long it takes, we want to make delicious pickled vegetables.” 

 

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Kuwanosato - Mulberry Tea That Embraces Your Heart

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Kuwanosato - Mulberry Tea That Embraces Your Heart

Kuwanosato's delicious mulberry tea is made from 100% domestically produced mulberry leaves grown and harvested on a company-managed farm in Yamanashi Prefecture, the birthplace of “Ichinose Mulberry”. The company has a clear philosophy: "Contribute to local Yamanashi, Japan, and the world with the will to live for a century and to shine in the future of the millennium"

PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Konbumura - A Busy Mother Creates Flavors from the Seas of Hokkaido

Konbumura

Konbumura's nutrient-packed seaweed salad mix is made from 100% domestically harvested seaweed varieties, sourced from the cold northern seas surrounding Osatube in Hokkaido. Konbumura works with skilled local fishermen, who know the best time to harvest the different varieties of seaweed, to produce an exceptionally delicious mix of flavors.