The sun setting in the horizon, the strawberries grow with the grace of sun
A big greenhouse stands here in the plains of Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture, one of the few places in Japan where you can see the sun setting into the horizon. In the greenhouses are strawberries. Strawberry Fields started its business 13 years ago. Kenji Endo, representative, was not a farmer by birth. ”Why strawberries?” was a natural question for Nakata. ”Well we had to make money somehow and for that, I figured we had to make a difference in product quality, and if people could taste the difference, we could be successful. I also thought strawberries were the perfect crop to make people happy.” While we thought that the big greenhouse was a result of expansion based on experience, the unexpected answer was that he had started out with the big house. ”We actually built a big farm at the beginning, only to realize that it was too much for just my wife and I to handle. So we had to do a lot of research to run this place.”
The strawberries are a masterpiece re-invented by the Japanese
The first thing we noticed in the greenhouse is the background music. Beatles, Mozart, movie soundtracks, Vivaldi… ”Is it effective?”Nakata asked. ”Yes I think it’s improving their health.” laughed Endo as he answered. At Strawberry Fields, they have never disinfected the soil so that they can take advantage of the microorganisms in the soil. ”It is said that the power of soil weakens when it is continuously farmed. But as far as we are concerned, our soil keeps getting better every year.” That’s how thorough his soil making is.
”When I asked my farming master about the key points in growing delicious strawberries, he just told me to ”ask the strawberries”.” Endo said that the production method that doesn’t question the time and labor that goes into the product is unique to Japanese culture. He says Japanese strawberry farming is of another dimension from foreign methods. ”Strawberries, if you try to make them convenient for you, it just doesn’t work. So I’m their servant. I think it’s very Japanese to spend your time on something so irrational. I think strawberries were re-invented in Japan. And it’s a masterpiece. ” Crops do not grow deliciously without this much care. The farmers whom we visited all said the same thing. This zealous attitude is what supports the taste.
Producing the white strawberry ”Scent of First Love”
White strawberries are produced by only a few farmers in Japan. As the name indicates, it’s white inside and out. The ”Scent of First Love” is sold in department stores in the Kanto area and their surprising look, as well as the firm taste and sweetness, has won great popularity. ”It’s really amazing. It looks unripe but it is sweet and tasty. Is there a difference in how it’s grown?” Asked Nakata. ”No, it’s not that different. But it’s a bit more sensitive than conventional types, and it requires more nutrition.” It is white but its nutritional content does not differ from conventional strawberries. It’s a puzzling fruit. If you happen to come across white strawberries, we suggest you try it.
Endo said he wants to grow delicious strawberries and white strawberries in hopes of bringing smiles upon the faces of customers. There are so many people who look forward to strawberries grown in sunny Ibaraki every year.
- Strawberry Fields LC
- 980 Kirigase Hishida, Shimotsuma , Ibaraki Prefecture
- URL http://www.strawberry-fields-jp.com