Ibaraki-ken is second only to Hokkaido with respect to farming activity. And we are beginning to believe that they can grow almost anything here. Summer may well be the slow season as it tends to be very hot. Eggplant and cucumbers appear to like the heat.
Foods collected in the wild or growing wild include "takenoko" or bamboo shoots, "mioga" or the inner shoot of a weed, "nanohana" or canola flowers and shoots, asparagus (semi-wild), "fuki" a hollow stemmed wild plant, "shiso" leaves, jelly made from roots of kudzu vine and other wild plants we have forgotten the names of.
From the trees growing here we have eaten "kuri" or Japanese chestnuts, "sudachi" a mild lime like citrus fruit, blueberries, "kaki" or persimmon, "ume" or green plums. Passion fruit is a bit of a novelty and the plant only produced a single fruit. Loquat or "biwa" may or may not be grown in Ibaraki. I have eaten "gumi" a wild cherry like fruit we spotted in Hokkaido. We will probably not be around when the oranges and "mikan" or Japanese oranges are ready.
"Ocha" or green tea bushes are growing on the property.
From the fields we have eaten "horenso" or spinach, "negi" or the inner shoots of a large green onion, "ninjin" or carrots, a few sugar snap peas, a few green beans, "jagaimo" or potatoes, "tamanegi" or field onions, "satoimo" or taro root, "renkon" or water lotus, of course "gohan" or cooked rice, "kiuri" or Japanese cucumbers, "nasu" or eggplant, "piman" or sweet peppers, some sweet corn, peanuts, "daikon" or large Japanese radish, smaller radishes, lettuce, "satsumaimo" or sweet potatoes (hopefully ready soon), tomatoes, "goya" a bitter rough cucumber like fruit on vines (originally from Okinawa), "hakusai" or Japanese cabbage, broccoli, cabbage, "suika" or watermelon, "kabocha" or pumpkin like squash, "shoga" or fresh ginger (very potent), "uri" or cucumber like eaten as an instant pickle when green or as a melon when ripe, "edamame" or green soybeans, "soramame" or giant beans "okura" or okra (somehow was never harvested), "gobo" or burdock root, basil, chrysanthemum flowers, azuki beans are grown here. It is too warm for apples which we saw many of in Hirosaki in Aomori-ken as well as near Omachi in Nagano-ken.
When I mention the possibility of a pig roast, I distinctly get the feeling that I dare not! The "ika" or squid drying on the 'spin dryer' is a favourite of mine as "sashimi" that is raw fish or barbecued, but Ibaraki is not known for "ika". Hakodate on Hokkaido is the place to find fresh "ika" early in the morning.
We get a lot of food from our hosts the Okano's and other neighbours in Komatsuka, but we still like to have extras such as bread, eggs, yoghurt and coffee. Sometimes it appears as though the Okano's are 95% self sufficient.
Click on link to see photographs on Picasa.