NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

”Ichiyajo Yoroizuka Farm” – Current agriculture and a chef

”Ichiyajo Yoroizuka Farm”
- Current agriculture and a chef

Overlooking Sagami Bay with Ichiyan Castle in the back

During the Sengoku period in Odawara, Kanagawa, Hideyoshi built Ishigakiyama Castle in order to capture the unassailable Odawara Castle. He built the castle in secret and made it to look like it was built overnight, therefore calling it ”Ichiyajo” or one night castle.
We visited the fields spread out on the hills where the ”one night castle” once stood. Here, pastry chef Toshihiko Yoroizuka opened a farm and restaurant ”Ichiyajo Yoroizuka Farm” in 2011.
Yoroizuka trained in Europe where he became renowned as a pastry chef. Upon his return to Japan, he opened a succession of patisseries which were greatly successful and made him famous in Japan. What is the reason behind him starting his own farm.

Agriculture and chef

Yoroizuka had always travelled all over Japan in search of ingredients. During his travels, he discovered great tasting ingredients and found out about the ”current condition of farms” in Japan. Labor shortage, lack of successors were some of the issues. In addition, the market framework was not producer friendly.
”For example, Satsuma oranges,” commented Yoroizuka, ”just a little scratch on the orange peel makes it difficult to be shipped. The scratch doesn’t affect the taste. But farmers must make other products like jam with the sour ones, or they wouldn’t be able to stay in business.”
He worried about the situation but thinking about it did not provide a solution. You have to tackle the problem and see where it takes you. This is why he started this farm.

Together with local farmers

The farm was not built in a day. The staff, including Yoroizuka were amateurs when it came to farming. It was impossible for them to farm by themselves, so they had local farmers teach and assist them on a regular basis.
”Nurturing human resources is also important. There are about 100 pastry chefs that work for us. Being a ”pastry chef” is only a part of who we are. Working with the local farmers will develop us as people.”
There is more work to be done in the fields, but Yoroizuka talked passionately about what he wanted to grow on the farm.
With a restaurant on the premise, many people visit the farm daily. He also opened ”Yoroizuka Farm Tokyo” in Shibuya Hikarie and sells seasonal crops harvested from the farm, continuing his efforts to stimulate agriculture together with delicious cuisine.

ACCESS

Ichiyajo Yoroizuka Farm
1352-10 Hayakawa, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
URL http://www.grand-patissier.info/ToshiYoroizuka/farm.html