Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Today, I had the privilege to tag along with Yoshimura family in their Nashi orchard during their seasonal harvest. Nashi is a Japanese Pear, bigger and a little harder than a standard pear. Yoshimura-san has several acres of Nashi orchard in Toyama and was nice enough to let me tag along and take photos in the morning before I was put to work.

Once the nashi are picked, they are sorted on the back of trailer by size and quality. The crates are then loaded onto the back of a mini pickup to take into the factory down the street.

Every step that you took in the orchard would disturb rabid pack of these guys, known as Semi. These Semi resemble giant flying cockroaches, but they are pretty harmless. After being bombarded by them all morning and having them fly into my head, face and mouth, I felt like I had bonded with them. Sometimes they would excrete a liquid as they buzzed my head. According to the workers, it was pee, but I should not worry because they pee honey.

"Put the Gaijin to work!" After taking about 200 photos, it was time for me to put down the camera and pick up a crate to earn my keep. I'm not sure what my official title was for the next couple of hours, but every time one of the crates filled up, it was my duty to haul it over the back of the trailer for sorting and bring an empty crate back out to the crew.

Yoshimura-san's wife, Yoko, taking care of business.

This factory is just a short tractor ride down the road. All of the local orchard owners bring in their nashi to the factory for sorting and shipping.

The whole operation here really brought to mind the phrase and the meaning of Itadakimasu!, and the whole notion that each time you sit down for meal, you should consider all of the effort that went into growing, harvesting, sorting, packaging, distributing and preparing that food that you are about to eat. Many hands took part getting that food to your table, so give thanks and keep that in mind when you are about to chow down!

Big Thanks Yoshimura-san!

1 comment:

  1. I think the bug that pees honey is some variety of cicada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada

    I'm not sure about the honey part, but people eat them all over the world. Maybe these come with the condiments included?