This is an extra post on Miyagi Prefecture. During my trip to Tohoku, we visited a strawberry farm in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture for ichigogari (strawberry-picking).
I had such an amazing experience that I decided to make this an entirely separate blog post!
The farm I went to is Ichigo World.
Actually it would be quite misleading to call it a farm, because…
It looks more like a chic studio/lab with a lot of stylish designs and thoughtful decos everywhere.
And the products they carry are not just fresh premium grade ichigo from the farm, but also sparkling wine and skin care range!
Honestly I never expected a “farm” could be this neat.
Freshly picked from the farm.
As the R&D leader, Katsube Tatsuya san of Ichigo World explained to me, I had goosebumps. I didn’t expect so much significance and love could be placed in cultivating world-class ichigo.
By the way, from now on I will call this amazing, amazing pretty fruit from Japan “Ichigo” and not “strawberry”. Tatsuya told me that in Japan, the farmers are constantly improving the quality of their fruits by fused artisans’ techniques and IT to produce more and more amazing produces. And Japanese strawberries are of such high quality that they are technically an entire different species from the strawberries from the rest of the world.
Ichigo is not strawberry. Ichigo is lots and lots of researches, improvements and LOVE.
And the breed they produce here at Ichigo World, is called “Migaki Ichigo”. It is “strawberries brushed up by nature, IT and craftsmen to be the Best in the World”. The world “Migaki” means “brushing up”, which signifies how they constantly trying to better their standard and bring it to the next level.
The cultivation is highly IT based. There are complicated graphs and charts to monitor the sun light/air/temperature etc to ensure optimum environment for the ichigo.
Did you know? The highest quality ones are sold at JPY1000 per piece (RM40 almost!!!!).
I was the happiest girl in the entire town that day.
Because I was told that I can pick whatever and however much I want and eat to my heart’s content.
And I did.
And it was… pure love. T___T.
For those of you who have yet to try high quality Ichigo (not strawberry!!!!), you shall not die in this world without trying one. Honest.
How Ichigo looks before it ripens.
I picked one that looks like a Hello Kitty!!!!
By the way, did you know how some Ichigo gets the perfect diamond shape? (Shape is so important for high-end ichigo because it makes beautiful presentation as a gift.) Apparent it has something to do with the bees and the flowers (not birds hor lolol)!
And in Ichigo World even the bees they use (yes, you buy bees to keep in the farm) are the very expensive ones lol.
Migaki Ichigo are super perfect. But in the farm I do see some smallish, less-than-perfect Ichigo (but yummy all the same). I asked Tatsuya what they will do with these fruits that won’t make the cut.
The perfect ones goes into a beautifully designed box.
The rest are not wasted, they are made into products, wines and sparklings!!
White Ichigo made into…?
An organic skin care range!
Sparkling wine made with Migaki Ichigo.
And the premium Mousseux that is made with 100% Migaki Ichigo.
I couldn’t try it unfortunately T______T. Sorry baby.
Also, other than the cutting edge agricultural techniques and skills, Ichigo World actually was created originally for a bigger mission. The company GRA was created right after the 3.11 Tohoku Earthquake, to support the local industry by creating new employments around the Tohoku region and more importantly, raising the new generation of farmers for the country.
I have so much respect for farmers in Japan and I do hope that more and more young generations will take an interest in farming. If next time Junya grows up wanting to be a farmer in Japan I will support him with all my heart. And money hahaha.
Got onto local paper the next day hahha.
Ichigo World is open to public for Ichigogari (strawberry picking), so do check out their website for location and more info!!
By the way! On the way back from Japan last night, I picked up the in-flight magazine on JAL and they featured the exact farm I went to in their Support Tohoku section.
Migaki Ichigo is getting more and more well-known!
And guess what???
YOU CAN GET IT IN SINGAPORE!!!!
I spotted these at Takashimaya in Orchard Road and I was so excited!! Yes it is very pricy (well it is Singapore!) but if you have some spare cash, do support Migaki Ichigo and in a way you are supporting Miyagi Prefecture and Tohoku 🙂
Taste of Tohoku
5 years have passed since that sad day. I cannot count how many times I have teared watching all the documentaries about what happened 5 years ago. Videos and visuals of Tsunami was aired again and again and again and I heart just broke repeatedly.
But it is not something we should ever forget. Recovery is still on its way but a lot of effort has been done.
Today the food products of Tohoku are controlled and safe again, I never ever hesitated during my entire journey in Tohoku. Quite the opposite. Made and grown in Tohoku? BUY!!!
If you need to know more about food safety in Tohoku, you can refer to this report:
In my next post I’ll blog about very, very yummy Fukushima beef.
For more tips on Tohoku gourmet and delicacies, you can visit Taste of Tohoku!