At the trailhead of the Shimanami Kaido Bike Trail in Onomichi is a lovely little monthly market aptly named Onomichi Family Kitchen.
Started six years ago by local residents who wanted access to organic food and to support nearby farmers, the market spills over into the nearby shotengai (covered shopping street) and is a hub of community activity and good food. Nearly thirty vendors and their customers enjoy live music, workshops, puppet shows, story sessions, and most uniquely, a bounty of children’s books that young families swap back and forth each month.
The Nagai family of Remondani Farm brings an assortment of citrus—lemons and mikan—as well as persimmons and pomegranates. Practitioners of natural farming for more than forty years, the Nagais are famous for producing fruits with unforgettable flavor and quality. A recent collaboration with a beekeeper helps with orchard pollination and also makes for a deep, rich golden honey that changes flavor with the seasons.
Hiroshi Nagano of Umikaze Souen stands behind a table bursting with goodness: squash, deep red potatoes, and katakimame (dried beans). Originally from Hokkaido, the beans were brought south by Nagano’s in-laws nearly thirty years ago. Planted, saved and planted again, the white beans have evolved into an island specialty.
Thomas Kloepfer of Pitchfork Farms offers a selection of fresh greens, a favorite with customers here. The combination of red and green lettuces, kale, mizuna and a handful of others makes salad as tasty as it is eye-catching. Like Nagano, he saves and selects his seeds for growing on his farm across the channel on Mukai Island.
Megumi Ninjo of Fukunotane Breads is also well worth a visit. Her loaves of walnut, raisin and rye are as delicious as they are beautiful, but it is the chocolate with bits of mikan peel that flies off the table. Her ten years of baking experience are evident in the quality of her bread and in the line of customers extending out from her table.
Visitors can settle in at one of the picnic tables with a coffee from local roasters, Paraiso Coffee, or choose from a variety of sweet and savory breads Okeso Café makes from their own wheat in a newly expanded bakery. Whether cycling the Shimanami Kaido or simply touring the stunning temples and museums the Seto Inland Sea boasts, this homegrown market will certainly satisfy.
Onomichi Family Kitchen
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Onomichi Station: Turn left and walk down the shotengai to the park on the right.