This is Part 2 of the report on the tour of Satoyama and Satoumi in the Ishikawa prefecture, organized by Isetan Mitsukoshi food buyers and the Ishikawa New Agriculture Total Support Organization (INATO) along with gourmets.
■ Agehama Salt Production in Suzu City
Suzu city is located at the northeastern tip of Noto Peninsula and here, the Agehama salt production method is preserved. This method was first created over 400 years ago in the Edo period and involves scooping seawater using a pail and then sprinkling it onto a salt pond covered with clay and sand. Once the water in the pond is dried up, the remains are gathered into a wooden well. Seawater is poured into the well to create a concentrated solution. The solution is boiled inside a kiln and the salt crystals are extracted. The arduous process begins in the early morning with the scooping and sprinkling of the seawater, followed by work in the salt pond and use of the kiln. The salt farm Suzu Enden Mura uses local firewood to boil the solution for nearly 18 hours. By using the wood taken from Satoyama, it helps to sustain Noto’s biodiversity. The Agehama salt production method can only be carried out through the months of April to October and so the production quantity is limited. The mellow flavor of the salt is pleasant to taste.
■ The Chikuha Sake Popular Locally and Internationally
In the town of Noto, Kazuma Sake Brewery founded in 1869 is located. Its 6th president Kaichiro Kazuma, who took on the company at the age of 24, puts his heart into creating sake for the local people as well as marketing his products to the rest of the world. Among other renowned sake labels such as Dassai, Masumi and Daishichi, Kazuma Sake Brewery’s Chikuha sake was selected for the culinary event Madrid Fusion.
The rice used to make the sake at Kazuma Sake Brewery is polished at the brewery. “Our dedication to using locally grown rice to make the sake is what makes the products special and safe. We sort and polish the purchased rice carefully to maintain the quality of the sake,” explained Kazuma. Every day, a tank truck carries the soft water used to make the sake, sourced from the only mountain in the area not facing the ocean.
Sometimes Kazuma purchases organically grown rice from his friend Takahiro Ura, who is the president of the rice manufacturing company Yumeurara. Together with Ura and local university students, Kazuma is also involved in projects aimed to conserve the natural environments of Satoyama and Satoumi. “Loving one’s homeland, vitalizes it,” he added.
■ Taka Farm is Traditional and Modern at the Same Time
Taka Farm located on the island Notojima grows vegetables that are delivered directly to restaurants in Tokyo, Osaka, Kanazawa and other parts of Japan. Its vegetables are also sold in department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Isetan and due to their popularity, are sold out right away. The farm is run by a married couple, who moved to the island after being taken away by the beauty of the nature. “We only grow vegetables that we ourselves would want to eat. Our vegetables are organic and safe. Our farm was only 2 hectares when we started, and now it’s 20 hectares. We grow over 300 types of vegetables annually,” explained the couple.
“We fertilize the soil by adding chaff and green manure to the red clay soil, which is full of minerals to start off with. It takes longer when growing vegetables using red clay soil, but the vegetables grow to be very nutritious and rich in taste. This is particularly true about the potatoes and root vegetables grown here”.
The farm grows a selection of traditional Kaga vegetables such as the leaf vegetable Kinjiso, thick cucumber, Gensuke daikon, the leaf vegetable Nakajimana, spaghetti squash and more.
In cooperation with:
Suzu Enden Mura http://www.suzu.co.jp/enden
Kazuma Sake Brewery https://chikuha.co.jp
Taka Farm Tel/Fax: 81-(0)767-85-2678