Market WatchBy Joan Bailey
Just outside Bashamichi Station in Yokohama is a charming new farmer’s market. Brought about by the same folks who conjured up Tokyo’s Market of the Sun, Kitanaka offers a hearty mix of local and organic as well as conventional growers, regional bakers and confectioners and an excellent selection of food trucks to satisfy the weariest of shoppers.
Opened in November of 2015, the market rests between café-laden Minato Mirai and the happening Kannai. Inspired by local redevelopment efforts, Akiko Yamamoto, the market manager, said the organizers and the city thought it would be a nice way to build community.
“We wanted to bring new people to the area and connect with locals,” Yamamoto said amid the hustle and bustle of the opening weekend.
Eishi Yamane brings his organic produce from just down the road in Fujisawa. Yamane retired three years ago after a long career at 3M and the birth of his daughter. “That was a turning point in my life,” he said, his tanned face beaming as he looks at his wife and daughter as they help a customer choose the perfect daikon. His table boasted purple, orange, white and yellow carrots, beets, Swiss Chard and some of the most beautiful Chinese cabbage around.
Three kinds of potatoes, including a mouth-watering Andes Red, sat next to frilly wasabina and bags of pungent cilantro to fill out the edges.
Those hankering for baked goods will find table upon table of doughy delights to peruse. Christmas cakes, bagels in every color, crunchy granola, scones begging for butter and Boulangerie a la Demande’s shirasu- topped focaccia bread.
A simple turn of the corner marks the beginning of the delightful hunt for the perfect jam or honey to pair with that bread. Clarte offered visually stunning jars of handmade jam including a beautiful strawberry along with a knockout azuki and green tea, while Beehive Apiary Murakami’s hazelnut honey is a wee bit of heaven on earth.
For those hankering a more savory experiment, wander over to Do-re-mi Farms table of creative pickles to try their finely chopped mix of pickled vegetables that would make a fantastic tapenade. Shizuka Komiya and Midori Kabaya of Aloha Farms in Tochigi are worth visiting not only for their homemade senbei, but also their adzuki, hemp and mulberry leaf flavored ama- zake, made with torganic rice and soymilk. Aloha Farms adds no sugar to this traditional winter drink.
It was started five years ago, and the four women who work it use natural farming practices to grow their vegetables, soybeans, garlic and rice. A cluster of 15 food trucks offers shirasu rice bowls along with spicy Indian, Thai and Korean foods.
Those searching for a snack can nibble on a kamaboko sausage or sip cups of fresh hot coffee or tea.
Kitanaka Marche Nearest Station: Bashamichi Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., third Saturday and Sunday of every month Directions: Head out Exit 2 and turn right. Look for the white tents on the right.