SEASONAL DELIGHTS (Summer 2023) - Farm to Table (農場から食卓へ)



Producer: Kagoshima Organic Farmers' Association
Prefecture: Kagoshima

Gobo (burdock root) is a nutritional Japanese root vegetable that finds its way into many Japanese dishes (you may have tried it in the braised dish known as kinpira gobo which consists of gobo and carrots simmered in a sweet soy sauce* and topped with roasted sesame seeds*).

In this local tea, 100% organic burdock is washed and peeled one by one by hand before being dried in the warm Kagoshima sun. The whole burdock is used, including the skin, to include all the nutritional benefits such as anti-aging antioxidants, polyphenols and dietary fiber. The resulting tea is naturally sweet and smooth.

The Kagoshima OrganicFarmers' Association consists of 160 local farmers, of which 100 are Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) organic certified farmers (this is quite an accomplishment given how strict the requirements are to gain this organic certification in Japan!). Together, the farmers produce 140 different seasonal products including rice, fruits, vegetables and tea. Their agricultural products are cultivated without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers and since they don’t use herbicides, all weeds are removed by hand.

Ingredients: Organic burdock (Kagoshima and Miyazaki)
Suggested uses: Add 150ml of boiling water and enjoy after brewing for about 3mins.
Storage: Room temperature.



Producer: Nikko shokuhin

Yuba (tofu skins) is a simple yet wholesome food that is made by warming a bowl of soybean milk and skimming off the top film (tofu skin) as it forms. While it tastes somewhat similar to tofu, it has a distinct creamy texture from its delicate, thin layers and a slightly sweet, almost buttery taste. Yuba is a valuable source of protein in Shōjin Ryōri, the traditional vegan Buddhist cuisine.

Yuba from Nikko is considered a particularly special delicacy. Located in Tochigi, in the mountains north of Tokyo, Nikko is a famous World Heritage Site that has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for centuries. This handmade yuba from Nikko is made the old-fashion way using 100% domestic soybeans (a rarity given that 90% of soybeans in Japan are imported, with very few domestic producers remaining) which is combined with pure water from the mountains of Nikko.

Ingredients:Soybeans (non-GMO), salt, gelatin
Suggested uses:Drain the liquid from the package and cut into bite sized pieces. Best served chilled with wasabi* and soy sauce*, vinegar* and soy sauce* or mentsuyu* (noodle sauce). Can also be cut into strips and added to soups or pasta in a cream sauce. Combine with boiled leafy vegetables and your choice of sauce(Eg. ponzu*, mentsuyu*, shirodashi, soy sauce*, etc.) to make aemono (dressed side dish).
Storage:Room temperature (this is very rare for yuba!). Refrigerate after opening and use as soon as possible. Note: the liquid in the package may become cloudy but this is simply soy milk from the tofu skin and doesn’t affect the quality of the product.



Producer: Seika Shokuhin

This nostalgic candy combines the soft, chewy texture of mochi with matcha (Japan’s bitter-sweet, prized powdered green tea) and yomogi (an aromatic herb from the Japanese mugwort plant that has a fresh, spring-like fragrance, vivid green color and slightly bitter yet floral taste). The more you chew, the more the natural sweetness and flavor of mugwort will fill your mouth.

Seika Shokuhin was established more than 100 years ago, in 1903, as a confectionery wholesaler in southern Kyushu. With an enterprising spirit and energy, they deliver satisfaction through food while living together with the local community and contributing to its development.

Ingredients:Starch syrup (domestic), sugar, maltose, glutinous rice, white bean paste, oblate (starch wrapper), yomogi (mugwort powder), matcha (Kagoshima), starch, emulsifier (from soybeans)
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is. (Note: no need to remove the transparent individual wrapping as this is oblate, an edible starch wrapper). Pairs well with the Organic Burdock Tea included in this Care Package or any of the Japanese green and specialty teas from our single items Market: Michi no Eki
Storage:Room temperature.



(燻製茶 ほくめい)

Producer: Hiraoka-en

Though all teas come from the plant species Camellia Sinensis, each variety has its own unique characteristics based on the region it comes from, how it’s grown and harvested, how it’s oxidized and processed, etc.

Developed in Saitama, Hokumei (lit. “north tea”) is a special tea cultivar grown in the northern regions of Japan. It is similar to the Yabukita cultivar and is mainly used to make sencha (the most commonly enjoyed green tea in Japan) but has recently been used to make oolong (a semi-oxidized tea placing it in between unoxidized green tea and fully oxidized black tea). Here, the leaves are smoked over whiskey barrel chips to create a black tea that has a smoky aroma and a mild charcoal flavor with hints of cocoa and nuts. It has a mild sweet umami and medium astringency. Andwhile most teas are typically blended to produce a consistent, large quantity of tea, this Single Origin Smoked Black Hokumei Tea is cultivated entirely in one specific plantation.

Hiraokaen, a tea farmer in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture, has been preserving its ancestral fields and sustainable farming methods for over 300 years.

Ingredients:Smoked black tea (100% single origin "Hokumei”)
Suggested uses:Put the contents of the package (5g loose leaf) into a pot. Pour in 300ml of boiling water and let steep for 3-4mins, stirring just once before serving. Make sure to pour the very last drop (known as the golden drop).




Producer: Maruai foods

Umeboshi, Japan’s salty and sour pickled plums, are made by soaking ume (Japanese plums) in a salt brine until they become plump and juicy with a noticeably tart taste. These special umeboshi are made from Kishu nanko ume. Unlike regular ume which contain a large pit, kishu nanko ume have a thin skin, small seed and soft flesh. Regarded as one of Japan’s highest-quality and most flavorful ume, they’re a local speciality of Kishu (former province of Japan which is now Wakayama Prefecture, Japan’s leading ume producing region), with a taste similar to apricots with bright, tart, fruity notes.

Maruai Foods is committed to making products grown domestically in Japan without any additives. They believe in the importance of food as the starting point to nurture the body and mind, and hope their foods will be the centerplace of “food memories” that make you smile!

Ingredients: Ume (Japanese plum) (Wakayama), pickling ingredients [sugar, starch syrup, salt, honey, apple cider vinegar, yeast extract, plum vinegar], vitamin B
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is, on top of rice or in onigiri (rice ball). To add a pleasant tartness to any dish, mince to create a paste and use in sauces for pasta or tofu, salad dressings, dips, spreads, marinades for vegetables, when simmering meat/fish, in soups, or combine with mentsuyu*, dashi* or mirin* to make a dressing or sauce. Try it in the Ume (Japanese Plum) Pork Roll recipe provided.Caution: Please note there is a seed inside the plum that should not be eaten/swallowed.
Storage: Individual unopened packages can be stored at room temperature but can also be refrigerated.



Producer: Toraya Sangyo

You've undoubtedly tried edamame, soybeans which are often boiled and served with a touch of salt at izakayas (Japanese pubs). Although green in color, edamame are actually immature soybeans which typically turn yellow or black when fully ripe. A rarer type of soybean is aomame {lit. “blue bean”) which remains green even when ripe. Larger than regular soybeans, they are lower in fat and higher in sugar making them sweeter, particularly when steamed. Aomame are hard to find given the time and labor required to cultivate and harvest them.

Here, the sweet, nutty, buttery flavors of aomame are combined with the mellow tasting “Yumemi Salt" made from seawater from the Seto Inland Sea and a simple, gentle tasting dashi (broth) made from konbu (kelp) andmaguro (tuna) bushi.

Toraya Sangyo has been creating quality bean products for more than 50 years under the company motto: "Be strict with work, love for people, and be devoted to the merchant road." 

Ingredients:Dried aomame (green soybeans): Green soybeans (Miyagi), Salt (100% Yumemi salt from Setouchi). Liquid seasoning:Konbu (kelp) dashi, salt (100% Yumemi salt from Setouchi), maguro (tuna) bushi dashi (contains soybeans)
Suggested uses:Cook with rice:Prepare 300g of rice by washing and draining in water several times. Add the whole pack of dried green soybeans. Add 350ml of water and the liquid seasoning. Mix well and let sit for about 30mins before cooking. Cook as per your rice cooker/stove top, add a dash of salt to enhance the umami, mix well and let sit for about 10mins before serving.



(まんてん ごまさぶれ 宇治抹茶)

Producer: Manten

Goma (sesame seeds) find their way into many Japanese dishes adding a subtle nutty, buttery flavor. Here they’re combined with the bitter sweet taste of Japanese matcha from Uji. The city of Uji is located just south of Kyoto and is the second oldest tea-growing region in Japan. Green teas from Uji, considered the most refined in Japan, became popular among Japanese nobility over 800 years ago and remain popular to this day. The resulting cookie has a crispy texture, delightful  sesame flavor and moderate sweetness.

Manten, located in the capital city of Saga Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, is dedicated to providing safe and delicious sesame products to consumers in Japan and around the world. Founded in March 2001, the company just celebrated twenty years of bringing the culture of sesame seeds to new audiences.

Ingredients:Sesame, egg, sugar, flour, butter, matcha
Suggested uses:Enjoy as is. Pairs well with the Organic Burdock Tea included in this Care Package or any of the Japanese green and specialty teas from our single items Market: Michi no Eki.
Storage:Room temperature.




Producer: Yamamoto Jozo

Yamamoto Jozo began as a specialty koji (fermenting microorganism) store over 250 years ago in 1772. Now in its 8th generation, Yamamoto Jozo continues to make their miso using the same traditional techniques. Since their establishment, they have been using localriceto make their koji, which is mixed by hand for 2-3 nights. The local rice is well suited for the cold climate of Hokuriku, a region located in northwest Honshu between the Sea of Japan and the mountainous Japan Alps. They combine this with carefully selected large, glossy enrei soybeans, also cultivated in Toyama, local groundwater and salt, which is slowly fermented and aged for 1 year at a low temperature to create their signature miso.

Here Yamamoto Jozo combines their miso with a unique vegetable dashi (broth) which enhances the flavors and creates a richer umami taste.

Ingredients:Rice miso (soybean, rice, salt) (domestic), vegetable extract (napa cabbage, carrot, cabbage potato), onion, hon “true” mirin, konbu (kelp) extract, shiitake mushroom extract powder, alcohol
Suggested uses:Extremely versatile, use it to make miso soup, sauces for stir fries, marinades for vegetables, meat or fish, or salad dressings by adding oil, honey (or mirin* or sugar) and a bit of citrus juice. To make a salad dressing for cobb salad, mix 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Dashi Miso with 2 Tbsp vinegar*, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 80ml plain yogurt and a dash of salt. To make miso soup, combine1-1½ Tbsp of Vegetable Dashi Miso with 150-200ml of hot water (adjust to your liking). Try it in the Cold Soy Milk Natto Pasta recipe provided.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.



(あめんどろ純芋蜜 (紅はるか))
Producer: Honeydew

Japan is home to a myriad of sweet potatoes (known as satsumaimo) with many regions having their own varieties ranging in skin and flesh colors (from orange to purple), sugar content, sweetness, textures and taste.The beni haruka sweet potato from Kagoshima is particularly popular given its soft texture, slight sourness and gentle sweetness.

Locally, beni haruka can be found made into a sweet potato honey known as "amendoro", in the dialect of the Minami Satsuma Peninsula, which has been enjoyed since the Edo Era. This amendoro in particular is the world's first sweet potato honey made without additives and using only 100% sweet potatoes, making it also vegan-friendly. Pure sweet potato honey has 10 times the polyphenols of regular honey and 12 times the antioxidants of Manuka honey.

Honeydew sources their beni haruka from the agricultural corporation Karaimo Farm located in the Ei and Chiran areas, which are the main beni haruka regions in the Minami Satsuma Peninsula and the birthplace of Japanese sweet potato cultivation. Karaimo Farm, in its fifth generation, grows their beni haruka the old-fashioned way, without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, in harmony with nature.

Ingredients:Sweet potato (domestic)
Suggested uses:Use to add a hint of sweetness to dishes. Try on yogurt, pancakes, rice cakes, bread, ice cream, or on fruits. Can also be used to sweeten tea, mixed with hot or sparkling water, in sauces or as is.
Storage:Refrigerate after opening.




Producer: Mori Shouten

Mushrooms (known as kinoko) play an essential role in Japanese cuisine, adding umami and texture to many dishes. A wide variety of mushrooms grow throughout Japan’s diverse landscape, with shiitake likely being the most well known. Extremely versatile, shiitake are characterized by their distinct meaty and smoky flavor and are also commonly used as an ingredient to make dashi (broth).

Founded in 1950, Mori Shouten, is based in Bungo-Ono City in Oita Prefecture, Japan’s largest producing region of dried shiitake. Mori Shoten works with roughly 1,200 local farmers to deliver premium dried shiitake throughout Japan. They continue to naturally grow their shiitake on logs in the forest where it can take two years for the shiitake to mature. The result is a higher grade shiitake with a noticeably deep color and aroma and rich umami flavor. These impressive shiitake can grow to be more than 8cm in diameter with a thickness that makes them ideal for creating shiitake steaks.

In order to protect the quality and taste of Oita's dried shiitake mushrooms, Mori Shouten, together with the industry, established the "Oita Dried Shiitake Traceability Council". Their commitment is to cultivate “aromatic and flavorful shiitake mushrooms made from logs with a strong taste”.

Ingredients:Dried shiitake mushrooms
Suggested uses:To rehydrate, place in a zippered bag and add enough water to cover the dried shiitake. Let sit in the fridge for 5hrs to one night. Remove the rehydrate shiitake from the liquid and cut off the stem. The stem and liquid (dashi) can be used as a stock/soup. Gently squeeze the rehydrate shiitake to remove excess water and use as you would any mushroom in everything from Japanese stews and hot pots, to dashi (broth), asian stir fries, mushroom risotto,fettuccine alfredo and more. To enjoy the natural shiitake flavors, try it in the Balsamic Garlic and Butter Shiitake Steak recipe provided.




Producer: Ydonoki

Known as the “tree of life”, hiba trees(Hiba arborvitae) are native to Japan and grow mainly in Aomori Prefecture. Part of the cypress family, hiba is a slow growing tree that can withstand harsh wind and snowy climates. It can take up to 300 years for hiba to reach the same size as Japanese cedar after 100 years and is considered a rare, protected precious material.

Hiba wood is often used to buildpagodas and shrines in Japan given its ability to absorb moisture and resist mold. Its distinct woody aroma is also said to have antibacterial properties. Ydonoki creates lumber materials using Aomori hiba and won the Japan Wood Design Award in the Lifestyle Design Category in 2015. In an effort to ensure that none of the wood is wasted, they started producing unique woodwork products inspired by the “warmth and playfulness of wood” using end materials and branches not suitable for construction. With this special gift, you can enjoy the calming, relaxing aroma of hiba from Aomori while eliminating odor and humidity from your home.

Ingredients:100% natural wood (Aomori Hiba)
Suggested uses: Use as a dehumidifier, anti-mold, air freshener. Remove from the vacuum pack (be careful to only open the vinyl vacuum pack and not the non-woven fabric inside) and place in any room, closet, drawer, etc. The Hiba Bomb bag will fully inflate over time as it absorbs moisture from the air. Once the bag has fully inflated, cut the non-woven fabric and sprinkle on plants for nutrients or on food waste to absorb odors and moisture.

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