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Launching Our Veggie Box Program

15 Jun

spring crops

We are delighted to announce that we are now taking orders for our Hello Farm Organics organic veggie box program.  Thank you to those who have been waiting patiently over the long winter months. We started the veggie box program this week, and are now taking reservations for our weekly Monday night deliveries. All boxes will feature our seasonal, mixed vegetables and will change weekly. You have a choice of a small (3000Yen) or large (4000Yen) mixed veggie box.  We can send you your veggies by cold delivery, anywhere in Japan for an additional 1000Yen.  Because the kinds of vegetables you receive will be determined by us, based on what is seasonably available, our program is well-suited for food lovers with a spirit of exploration and surprise.

If you are interested in ordering from us, please read through our blog for details about our philosophy, what to expect, and how to order. Please contact us by email at hellofarmorganics(at)gmail(dot)com if you have questions or would like to place an order. We will send you payment details at that time. Please also note that in our first year of the veggie box program, we will have limited space to keep things manageable, but will do our best to reserve a spot for you on a convenient delivery date.

Thank you, and happy eating!

Sincerely,

Ava and Zenryu

25 May

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Plant Sale!!!!

We were so excited about spring seeding, that we planted too many tomato seedlings! If you are a grower living in Japan, you may be interested in purchasing some of our organic, super healthy and ready-to plant tomato seedlings. We offer 22 varieties of heirloom, slicing, cherry, and canning tomatoes. We also have a rainbow of colors to pick from including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, black, white and striped! Each plant costs 200 Yen and we can ship by delivery truck. Please contact us by email for more details and to order at hellofarmorganics(at)gmail(dot)com

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This spring has been very good to us. The weather has been excellent for transplanting on time, and the conditions have been great for successful germination. We are already harvesting head lettuce, baby salad mix, snap peas, radish, parsley, and celery for On The Slope, our main distributor. If you are interested in purchasing a mixed veggie box and you live in Japan, please order through www.on-the-slope.com. Their organic fruits and vegetables are sourced from Kansai area farmers, including our farm.You can email them in English and they will send you an English order form by email. You can also call them by phone. They are super friendly!

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We have also been exploring the practice of companion planting this spring. With reference to the book, Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte, we have been trying to both improve our soil fertility as well as maximize on our space. In this picture, we have planted some spring head lettuce among our overwintered bulb onions. We had quite a bit of winter damage to our onion patch, so we inter-planted with lettuce. The main concept here is that companion plants offer a mutually beneficial relationship both above and sub-soil. Some companions deter pests, others form symbiotic nutritional relationships, while others promote healthy growth by providing a bit of shade or keeping moisture in the soil. Its all quite amazing!

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Meet our newest garden family member, Kuwa-chan, our new wheel hoe. She is a one-of-a-kind in Japan with custom-welded parts from Orchard Hill Farm in Ontario, Zenryu-made handles, and a recycled bike wheel. All cleverly assembled for super-hero stirrup hoe magic to happen. We’ve been waiting for months!! So happy!!!!

Spring is Here!

4 Apr

peas

The  glorious cherry blossoms all over Kansai and Japan are a sure sign of spring and we have been super busy getting ready for our second growing season at Hello Farm Organics. In the photo, Zenryu is using Kyoto rice straw to trellis organic snap peas, which we seeded in the fall and successfully overwintered under the snow. It is always exciting for us to learn local Kyoto techniques from our neighbors. This was the first time either of us had trellised peas in this way. This year, we have been able to get into our garden much earlier and as a result, we feel much more prepared for the coming growing season.

In short, here is what we have been up to in March/April:

– seeding pots of eggplant, heritage tomatoes, sweet peppers, parsley and basil under our warm grow lights for later transplanting

– seeding trays of kale, lettuce and broccoli seedlings in our cold frames (mini green houses for cooler areas) for later transplanting

– weeding and preparing garden beds for planting

– direct seeding radish and baby salad mix in the garden

– maintaining our overwinter crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, broad beans, snap peas, cabbage, garlic, bulb onions, and baby salad mix

– consulting closely with our main distributor and supporter, Saka-no-Tochu (On-The-Slope)

As promised, we still plan to start offering our own Hello Farm Organics veggie box delivery program in June.  Although we have continued to harvest all winter, our program will not start until June when we have a greater variety of produce to offer.  We will have 20 veggie boxes available for families each week on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will cater to English-speaking residents as it is a challenge for non-Japanese speakers and readers to find healthy, safe, organic vegetables in Japan.

If you currently live in Japan and are eager to start ordering organic vegetables now, please visit On-The-Slope.com. A large percentage of our produce is already distributed through On-The-Slope and can be found in some of their veggie boxes and in their store, even now. As you will see on their website, they are absolutely committed to supporting organic farmers and consumers, by only purchasing and distributing safe, organic, and naturally grown food. On-The-Slope now has some English pages on their website and you can now order using their English printable order form. Try calling if you cannot sort it out, as many of the staff speak English and are very friendly. (+81) 75-200-9773. Tell them Hello Farm Organics sent you 🙂

Please keep watching for news and updates. We sincerely appreciate your ongoing interest and support in our farm. We can’t wait to start sending donations Northbound to Fukushima again this year. We are so happy to be able to continue participating in food safety programs here in Japan, and the Hello Farm Project again this year.

Love and peace,

Ava and Zenryu

Happy New Year!

14 Jan

As we enter 2013, Hello Farm Organics would like to take a moment to reflect on our successes in our first growing season. We feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to start our own organic farm here in beautiful Kyoto. We have so much to be thankful for in our first year. Here is a timeline with some highlights:

December 2011- We were introduced to the Hello Farm Project initiated by a wonderful local NPO, 坂ノ途中, On-The-Slope. http://on-the-slope.com/hellofarm/

On-The-Slope supported our transition from Ibaraki Prefecture to Kyoto by finding us both land and buyers for our food, among other things such as finding second-hand equipment and introducing us to neighbors.

March 2012- We finally broke soil with the help of our new neighbors in Keihoku, Northern Kyoto, and started seedlings in multiple locations around Kansai, including Osaka YMCA International School’s Adopt-A-Plant project.

August 2012– With the help of other supporters, we were able to donate a percentage of our crops to communities effected by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. This also included several orphanages in the Kanto and Tohoku areas. In all, we donated more than 130 000Yen worth of safe, organic vegetables over the growing season.

October 2012– With our weekly sales to local restaurants, markets, stores, and food box programs, we managed to come out in the “green” in our first year. Yeah for us!

November 2012– We found out that we will be able to continue supporting orphanages and Northern communities in the Tohoku area for the 2013 growing season. 2013 will surely offer a greater variety of organic vegetables than last year!

December 2012– We decided to start a food box delivery program in 2013, based on seasonal vegetables, with minimal packaging and minimal pre-washing. This is in order to maintain vegetable shelf life but also because it better reflects our ideals about what how healthy, organic produce should be handled in a market culture of over packaging. Our soil and vegetables will also be regularly checked for radiation levels with the help of On-The-Slope NPO. Please visit our Veggie Order tab for more details about the veggie box program. The program will start in June, 2013.

Thank you so much to all our supporters for a wonderful first year up in the Kyoto mountains. Please tell your friends about us! We are super excited about our second growing season and look forward to growing as a business in 2013. Have a safe, healthy and happy New Year, everybody!

あけましておめでとうございます!

Ava and Zenryu

Hello Farm introduction

18 Nov

Hello Farm Project is run by Zenryu Owatari and Ava Richardson in beautiful Kyoto, Japan. The farm started in March 2012 as a farm start initiative sponsored by Sakanotochu (On The Slope) organic food distributor and NPO. The farm provides over 100 varieties of organic vegetables to the Kyoto community. A percentage of the crops have also been donated to several communities effected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear radiation disaster in Northern Japan. Hello Farm Project hopes to expand sales in 2013 to include an online veggie box program. Please watch for updates!