Meet the one of a kind vegetable collection
Text: Keiko Nakamura / Photo: Kanako Takimoto
I arrived at Shinmachi Shopping Street to visit the famous vegetable stall. This shopping street had been around before the World War and has a historical yet calm atmosphere. ONE DROP is one of the shops located here, with a look of a shop like stylish bakery and cake shop.
They sell vegetables and fruits, mainly organic, from all over Japan. Wataru Kotani, their representative, says that their best selling is Umatomato. They sell cherry tomatoes from 4 places, from Shizuoka, Hokkaido, etc. taking turns according to their best season. Inca no mezame, sweet yellow potato, is also popular throughout the year.
Carrots sold straight from the earth, strawberries with white flowers... lemon and sweet potato are sold loose... it is like an overseas vegi marche. They make it a point in labeling on how they were produced. 6 categories are used for this like JAS organic AAA. They also post explanation of each products like organic, not using chemicals for more than 3 years, etc.
New and rare veggie comes with a detail description, and even a recipe sheet that customers can take back. Great collection of daikon, from red, pink, purple, green and black. 'The black daikon is white inside. They are bitter when uncooked but becomes like a potato when sauteed with butter' says one of the POP memo. They also sell some carefully selected pickles and daily products like jam and tea.
Kotani had started selling vegi for over 10 years, including the time he had worked as a part timer during his school days. When he first opened up his business, he started from selling organic Kyoto products, delivering from his garage. Then as he built his business further with his wife, Ryoko, he started to think that if the agrichemicals are used properly, it shouldn't be denied, and to explore vegetables and fruits from all over Japan. With this in mind, he began to sell really good products with a reasonable price, disclosing details about any agrichemicals used and other issue related to producing them.
Gifts from the four seasons, innovative technology, producers with high spirit, this produces great vegetables. I am in this business to show that there are many such products in Japan, he says.
Indeed, the inca no mezame potato I bought back proved him right.