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Taste Japan | Loving Ume
You know how sometimes you meet people for the first time, but feel like you have known them for the longest time? The gregarious elderly couple in the ume farm located in Mikata-Kaminaka-gun in Fukui Prefecture shone with their good-natured banter. At various points, we even forgot we were there to learn about ume!
79-year-old Fukagawa is a 3rd generation ume farmer, who used to grow trees for printing before changing to the more lucrative ume crop. Together with his wife, Setsuko, they now care for over 700 ume trees and some rice fields. They sell 1/3 of their harvest to the Agriculture Department and salt the rest to be sold as salted dried ume. These plums are extremely sour with low sugar content and hence not consumed as fruits. Yield has declined drastically, from 30 tonnes in the previous year to just 15 this year. Fukagawa is therefore all the more insistent that there should be no wastage and asked us for suggestions on what he could do with ume. “Stop making new things! I am very busy and you need to rest!” rejoined Setsuko. Too cute.
We loved their homemade ume jam that went beautifully with yoghurt and ice cream. So much love here. Do go visit and support their labour of love!
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