Welcoming Change

11 Sep

The one constant in life is change. Since spring, we’ve grown our customer base to include stores in Kyushu, Tokyo, and Osaka. We now sell at the local michinoeki (local farm store) as well. We feel so blessed that we’ve been able to expand this year. This is in part due to being better organized and experienced growing in Japan, but also because we now have two full-time farmers working the land! Ava has decided to take a sabbatical from teaching for a while to concentrate on developing the farm. To that end, we are also now ready to expand our veggie box program. Some of you may have noticed we did not advertise our box program this spring. This was because we were too overwhelmed with maintaining the garden and keeping our current customers happy. But now, with two farmers, we feel much better prepared to grow in other ways as well.

Here are some highlights from this season so far:

  • We are expending our food box program and general sales markets, including the local farmer’s market store. Please tell your friends who may be organic and heirloom vegetable enthusiasts. Thanks!

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This is an example of one of our food boxes from September, 2016. (beets, swiss chard, acorn squash, UFO zucchini, colourful potatoes, Genovese basil, mixed sweet peppers, mixed heritage tomatoes, hot peppers, mixed eggplant, baby salad mix, lemon basil, Japanese sweet peppers)14102437_671469483000812_4569010224098244907_nWe’ve had to create labels to inform our new customers about who we are. These packages of colourful sweet peppers were sold at Woody Keihoku, our local farmer’s market store.

  • We’ve continued experimenting with more heritage varieties of vegetables this year including Japanese heritage spinach, a few new tomato varieties, Japanese piman peppers, makuwa musk melon, several baby salad mix varieties, dry beans, Japanese native mint, white okra, a Japanese Blue Hubbard winter squash, and sweet potatoes.

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This is Japanese heritage spinach seed. Very interesting shape, no?

  • We’ve had our volunteer roster filled for the entire season, months in advance. We feel so lucky to constantly be blessed with great help through WWOOF Japan.

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Some of our awesome volunteers. We love you!
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  • We will have our first Girl Scouts group visit us this September, from Kobe, to enjoy a farm tour and garden project and program, such as planting seeds and seedlings.
  • We had a bumper crop of sweet peppers.
  • We are now both full-time farmers. Yeah!

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Ava and Zenryu, the main farmers.

  • We will be exploring some new green manures (cover crops for soil improvement and crop rotation) such as buckwheat (soba), winter wheat, and clover.
  • We are considering adding another tambo (rice field-turned garden) to our garden roster for the spring of 2017. This is mainly to give our primary garden a break from the intensive vegetable production it has given us for the past 5 years. It is important to rest land using green manures or cover crops on a 4 or 5 year rotation if possible.
  • Like always we’ve added more varieties of self-collected seed to our list, including 6 varieties of peppers, 5 varieties of string and dry beans, more tomatoes, 4 kinds of basil, bulb and green onion, 4 varieties of lettuce and white okra.

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Some of the seeds we have saved this year.

Like always, thank you so much to all our awesome customers. We could not survive without your business and support. Nor could we afford to both be working full-time on the farm. Big changes! Big adventure! As one of our amazing WWOOFers once told us, “no risk, no fun!”

Ganbarimasho! We can do it!

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