Strawberries are like people –“Strawberry Farmer Takuma Watanabe”

Strawberries are like people
--“Strawberry Farmer Takuma Watanabe”

”Teichan Ichigo”, sweet, Neat, and Big

There is a kind of strawberry specially known for being “sweet and tasty” and “wonderfully large and neatly shaped” produced in Tochigi which is a large producer of strawberries. It is “Tochiotome” strawberry produced at Watanabe’s farm called “Teichan Ichigo”. Put this large and red strawberry in your mouth, and you will sense its sweetness spreading. No wonder it is so popular. For your reference, “Teichan Ichigo” was named after Teiji Watanabe who famous for being a master strawberry producer.
We talked with son of Teiji Watanabe, Takuma Watanabe who joined the farm at age 18 and has been growing strawberries along with his father. Presently, he has inherited the family business of producing strawberries.

Being Gentle with Strawberries

“I like this view.” Says Takuma-san and showed us through the house filled with rows of “Tochiotome” bearing fruits heavily. Nakata picks one and savor the sweetness.
“Like with tomatoes, there’s a way of growing them by cutting off water to leave sugar contents in the fruit. But I let them have good amount of photosynthesis and sending sugar to the fruit. That’s how I do it.”
Takuma-san explained his growing method, but an unexpected answer was given to Nakata’s question to why he doesn’t take the method of cutting off water.
“Because I feel sorry for the strawberries. Same as humans. I think they’d want water every day. I give them water and fertilizer and everything they want. Then, they respond. It’s interesting.”

Farming is Fun

Nakata asked while interviewing Takuma-san at the distribution station after visiting the greenhouse, “Have you ever considered changing the name “Teichan ichigo”?” Takuma-san answered and laughed, “I thought about changing when I inherited the farm, but I don’t want people to say they’re not as good as when my father made them. So, I still can’t change the name.”
Takuma-san, seeking for tastier strawberries, treats them gently. Watching him say “Farming is fun” and talking like he is really having fun, one can’t but help imagine that someday the name will be changed from “Teichan Ichigo” to “Takuchanichigo”.


Teichan Ichigo Ltd.
526, Ooneta, Mouka, Tochigi