Chisan-Chishou: Fresh, Local Produce the Norm in Japan
September 21, 2006
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Even in supermarkets in the heart of urban Japan, it is not uncommon for vegetables on the shelves to have been harvested the day before from local farms.
In the suburbs, produce served in the evenings was often picked the very same morning.
Chisan-chishou means "produce local, consume local", and is a widespread practice in Japan. With the exception of Hokkaido, the most rural Japanese island, farms in Japan are most small-scale and run by a few family members.
The result is food which is not only fresh and local, but lovingly tended.
Most of the work is done by hand. Caring for each fruit or vegetable individually is impossible on large-scale farms which are more typical in the United State.
There has been a slight decline in Japanese local farms in recent years, but the Japanese government has been encouraging chisan-chishou. For example, selling farmland for commercial use incurs a high tax, but passing on farmland to children does not.