On the last Sunday of each month, the port of Manazuru booms with life. Tucked amongst the fishing boats is a festive cluster of food trucks and nearly twenty tents featuring local organic produce, handmade tofu, baked goods, fresh and dried fish, two types of ramen, curry, artisanal coffee, and local crafts. A classic community affair, the Manazuru Naburaichi Farmers Market offers a little taste of everything this coastal town has to offer.
Started seven years ago by Takayuki Shibuyama, the market has become a community hub. When the programmer moved to Manazuru from Tokyo to establish a startup, he noticed there were few local shops to serve the population and many of those that were still open had owners ready to retire. Shibuyama shifted gears slightly and opened Manazuru Satoumi Base, an incubator for new businesses, in hopes of fostering a new generation of local merchants. When someone in the community suggested a farmers market, Shibuyama saw it as a natural extension of his work.
A line six people deep stretches from organic farmer Jin Okutsu’s booth where his bamboo shoots, fresh greens, and heirloom daikon are hot ticket items. Okutsu originally trained as a mechanical engineer, but soon realized he preferred being outdoors. It has now been eight years since he put his first seeds in the soil. Similarly, Masayoshi Nakatogawa started growing tomatoes after he retired twenty-two years ago. Carefully working the soil and balancing its nutrients lets him produce tomatoes with candy-like sweetness that brings Tokyo chefs knocking. “You can’t find these in a supermarket,” he says pointing to an array of ruby red and sun-yellow fruits.
Another specialist grower is Teruo Ozawa whose citrus orchard is one of many terraced along the coastal mountainsides of the Izu Peninsula. “The wild boar love to eat these, so I know they must be good,” he laughs with the perspective afforded by sixty years of growing citrus. His selection is a blend of varieties ideal for juicing, marmalading, or just plain eating.
Chiharu Aoki and her mother are owners of Okakesou, a local inn and family business for more than thirty years. They do a brisk business in creative side dishes that change with the season and their whim. Their lotus root, tuna and bean salad—along with another made from thinly sliced daikon with mayo and a bit of ham—are two favorites along with generously portioned onigiri and their homemade pickles.
Nearby Yugawara Tofu’s truck features tofu in a variety of flavors and textures, while Uoden, a local dried fish maker, offers modern versions of this classic regional delicacy that incorporate a French sauce and microwave-ready versions. “The market is a great place for community but also for hearing directly from customers,” says Jeff Garrish, who works with Shibuyama at Manazuru Satoumi Base. “There’s always something new.”
Manazuru Naburaichi Farmers Market
- Hakone, Kanagawa
- Last Sunday of the month, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.