Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on December 2012
As an acerbic accompaniment to your seasonal feast, don’t settle for any old shop-bought pickles. At the United Nations University in Omotesando the weekly Saturday-Sunday farmers’ market has transformed into a more Christmassy affair for the holiday season, and Midori has populated her stall with an array of vinagered goods (¥600-850) to stem the saccharine. As a Tokyo farmer, she knows her onions, and a few nibbles will show her pickling techniques are unparalleled. Burdock, garlic, and onions, sweet and spicy peppers, and more are paired with herb, spice, and the right amount of vinegar. Look out for experimental batches too—new potatoes in a delicate brine, and blackberries in a rich, dark brew have already sold out. Her little packed jars are a feast for the eye as well as for the taste buds, but don’t waste a moment or they will all be gone.
UNU Farmers’ Market, 10am-4pm, every Sat-Sun, closed Dec 23-Jan 12. Nearest stn: Omotesando or Shibuya
Kanjyukuya OrchardKazuto Tameike regularly brings boxes of sunshine to the Roppongi Ark Hills farmers’ market. The packages are full of a wide variety of citrus all grown on his seaside family orchard on the island of Shikoku, where he and his brother represent the fourth generation to do so. At this time of year, visitors to Kanjyukuya’s table at the Saturday-only market will find hana mikan in small, medium and large varieties. You can also pick up jars of unpasteurized honey (¥1,650)—beehives at the orchard ensure a good crop of citrus while providing a nice bonus for sweet-toothed punters. Arrive in January and the table will be groaning with larger fruit like iyokan, harumi, and haruka, whose flavors range from sweet to tart and back again all in one juicy bite. A 3kg gift box (¥2,680) will surely ward off the winter blues and latent sniffles. Their whole juices (¥1,000/500ml) could make a zippy breakfast beverage or tangy mixer for a favorite holiday cocktail.
Roppongi Ark Hills Farmers’ Market, 9am-2pm, every Sat (closed Jan 5). Nearest stn: Tameike Sanno
Fujikura-ShotenYoshio Fujikura works his table at the monthly Earth Day Market in Yoyogi Park with an infectious enthusiasm. As his household wares made from wood, bamboo, and rattan catch the sunlight and draw visitors for a closer look, Yoshio happily starts chatting away about the team of skilled craftsmen that create each and every item. Fujikura-Shoten, his family-owned business in Narita town opened in 1948 with its comprehensive selection of esthetically pleasing items perfect for everyday use. Customer favorites include a bamboo grater (from ¥840) that makes short work of your daikon, as well as a 3.3cm-thick cutting board of Aomori cedar (¥2,835-6,615). But the stars of the show are the shinodake, or rattan market baskets (¥4,410-5,775), a perfect companion when foraging dinner fixings or heading out for a picnic. Based on a classic design and made from all-natural materials in a range of sizes, the baskets have an innate flexibility and strength that allows shoppers to wander about town looking trendy while being practical.
Earth Day Farmers’ Market. 10am-4pm, Sun, Dec 16 & Sun, Jan 27. Nearest stn: Harajuku