Monday, June 21, 2010

Eating seasonally by default

Eating seasonally is a trend in the US and it just makes sense. So what if you're eating organic kiwis if they're putting it on a jumbo jet from New Zealand to get it to you in the middle of winter? In Japan, eating seasonally is part of the culture and something that is hard to avoid. The produce section reflects what is available now. For example, there are almost no apples in June and if you find them they're very expensive. The good news is that the produce that IS in season is very reasonably priced. This can be annoying when it's cherry season, they're practically giving them away and you don't like cherries. However, there are also those miracle moments like a few weeks ago when we happened upon huge bunches of rhubarb for $4 (not a trace of them the next week, sadly). I've also bought $2-3 pineapples recently which always seems like a miracle to me because those don't grow on trees. It can take over a year for a pineapple bush to grow one pineapple.

One result of this phenomenon is that we have been trying new foods. Have you ever eaten a fresh fig? We hadn't either but we highly recommend them. We ate them raw and in smoothies and they were gone so quickly we never got a chance to try them on a pizza. Here's a picture.

I had only eaten dried ones before and I never would've guessed they were originally this big. We have also been eating golden kiwis, which we never saw in midwestern grocery stores back home. They are yellow and sweeter than green kiwis. We still like the green ones better but it's nice to have some variety. Another thing we've tried was fresh apricots which we ate raw and baked into muffins. What's next? Probably kumquats! We're taking your suggestions for exotic fruits and vegetables!

Things seem to being going up and down for us lately. We had a great time with my uncle and then we both got bad colds. We received an awesome care package from our friends Katie and Sam and then I cut my finger on a paper cutter and needed 6 emergency stitches. John's bike was stolen and then it was returned. Our 2nd anniversary was yesterday and we got a fun package from my parents...and we still have bad colds. Hopefully we're on an upswing now though. We are going to a cabin this weekend with a big group of fun people...assuming this isn't an ear infection I feel coming on.


  1. What's even greater here is that the farmers cannot afford to have expensive pickers or sprays so everything is generally certifiably organic that are in the local markets. Eating seasonally is necessary, and things like strawberries get down under 50 cents a pound. I definitely love it. They have people selling produce out of their cars/vans on the sides of the highways, even in the main squares in the city. They also cut their trees so they don't grow above where they can hand-pick.

    Bret Beermann

  2. Bret! Good to hear from you. It's interesting to hear how things work in Poland. I'm not sure about pesticides here but Japanese consumers love perfect looking produce so I'm guessing they're spraying the heck out of everything. We're always digging around in the bargain bins for the stuff that is just a little past or not perfect looking to get some deals. You should blog about Poland--I'd love to read that. Congrats on your akachan (baby in Japanese)!