A location home to many corporations listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Marunouchi attracts the finest goods from around the world. Let us show you the best of Marunouchi.
Marunouchi is the business center of Tokyo. But did you know there is a marketplace that thrives among the towering skyscrapers? The wonderful Aozora-Ichiba & Marunouchi Marché is held on the first floor of the Marunouchi Building at Marucube. The event, a joint effort led by Aozora-Ichiba, an organization headed by actor Toshiyuki Nagashima, and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd., promoter of the Shoku-iku (dietary education) Marunouchi Project, will be held for the fourth time from October 22 to October 23. The Marché (marketplace) event seeks to create a place where safe and secure domestic foodstuffs are introduced to everyone in Marunouchi, from office workers to chefs, and where producers can interact face-to-face with consumers and chefs.
With producers from all corners of Japan selling their selective region-based crops and ingredients directly, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Marché is the chance to chat with sellers while shopping. Customers can learn particular features and qualities of a given product and how best to prepare it. Other highlights of Marché include booths run by producers favored by the culinary masters of Marunouchi Chef's Club and a corner specializing in vegetables grown on the outskirts of Tokyo. Stroll from booth to booth while enjoying conversation with farmers and occasionally sampling their wares; we're sure you'll come across more than a taste or two that tickles your fancy.
Previous Aozora-Ichiba & Marunouchi Marché (both pictures)
As a precursor to the Aozora-Ichiba & Marunouchi Marché, the First Food-sampling Seminar for Tokyo Vegetables and Tokyo Fish was held in August, featuring the theme of ''Local Production for Local Consumption in Urban Tokyo.'' There, Marunouchi Chef's Club president Yukio Hattori and other member chefs sampled the dishes that Tokyo producers brought to the table with the intent of building a stronger relationship between chefs and producers.
Island okra (Hachijo okra) is 15 to 20 centimeters in length, and, while the opening on cut okra pods usually resemble a pentagon, these okra feature a distinctly round opening. They are said to taste best raw, dipped in miso, in Hachijojima.
So just how exactly were these prized okra cultivated? We asked father and son producers Hiroshi and Kentaro Kawasato.
Rows of plastic greenhouses as well as fields of outdoor cultivation can be seen in the midst of residential areas in Kodaira City, the grounds covering as much as a hectare (10,000 square meters). This is the site where Hiroshi first started organic farming 25 years ago.
Before long, Kentaro joined the operation, and the two generations of father and son continue to grow vegetables that are both safe and delicious.
The foundation of their work is their focus on soil and compost. Horse dung they've brought from Equestrian Park in Setagaya Ward is left to ripen as compost for half a year, and spread throughout their field. Though the creation process for both the compost and soil is tough, they refuse to cut corners. ''We head out to collect horse dung once a month and even purchased a two-ton truck to help with the effort,'' laughs Kentaro. ''While we do focus on providing goods that are both safe and secure, our number one priority is taste,'' adds Hiroshi. ''To achieve the very best flavor, seed selection is extremely important. For example, from the many carrots I have eaten, the most delicious and, thus, the ones I selected to grow, are a variety known as Hitomi. These are really something special.''
Heading out to the field at four-thirty in the morning, father and son pay close attention to every nook and cranny; they spare no pains when it comes to their work in the field. Taros, yams, turnips, edamame (green soybeans) and pumpkins are just some of the 20 varieties of produce grown over the course of the year through the sum of their daily efforts.
Today's harvest included Kamo eggplant, long eggplant and island okra. We were allowed to sample some of the vegetables and were pleased to find that rumors of their fine flavor had not been exaggerated. The fact that so many vegetables-let alone organic ones-are grown and harvested in Tokyo comes as a ''fresh'' surprise.
Hiroshi (left) and Kentaro (right) Kawasato. Kentaro graduated from an agricultural college, and studied distribution and consumption trends at Daichi Wo Mamoru Kai (association promoting organic vegetables) before entering the farming profession.
Outdoor cultivation of island okra: the harvest nearly finished, these okra plants grew to over two meters in height and exhibited splendidly robust stalks.
Harvest of Swiss chard: each one is carefully handpicked.
To make ripe compost, horse dung is sprinkled with water and allowed to cure slowly. It is turned frequently as it ferments.
The Fourth Aozora-Ichiba & Marunouchi Marché
A vast market featuring highly selective foods that are typically hard to get. Each Marché has been more successful than the last, so be sure to check it out. The food stands planned for the event will offer pumpkins, eggplants, mushrooms, herbs, apples, persimmons, new rice, chestnuts, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) and more. The early bird gets the worm, so be sure to come by while goods are still in stock!
|Date and Time:||Friday, October 22-Saturday, October 23, 2010,
|Place:||Marunouchi Building 1F Marucube|
Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.
|Support:||Teraokaseiko Co., Ltd., Produce Aizu no kai,
Takeo Co., Ltd., Ojiadba Co., Ltd.
|Additional support:||FOOD ACTION NIPPON Promotion Headquarters|
|Inquiries:||Marunouchi Call Center, 03-5218-5100
(Service available until 20:00 on Sundays/holidays.
During consecutive public holidays,
service on the last day ends at 20:00)
|CATEGORY : Food||TAG : FOOD,A Lively Autumn in Marunouchi|
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