A few weekends ago, new friends (Michi and Mac) from the gym invite us to go sweet potato hoeing. I’m curious to know what a Japanese farm looks like. On a Saturday morning, we meet Michi at the gym parking lot who drives us to Mac’s farm. Expecting to be driving a ways, I am surprised to see that the farm is off the side of a road near my favourite coffee house. It’s no more than a 20 minute walk from our apartment. In the beginning of November, it is unusually warm and we are wearing t-shirts.
We watch Mac and his wife show us how to pull up the potatoes. With spades in hand, we take care not to break the fragile ends of the sweet potatoes and get to work. It’s not difficult, though I suspect a day’s worth of work is backbreaking. A quarter of the way through the rows of potatoes, we take a break to drink tea and explore the rest of the farm.
The property is a cross between a farm and personal garden, with greens, strawberries, ocra, peppers and fig tree. Across the property is their apartment they live in. I ask about this; it’s fairly common for agricultural land to be grouped together in an area separate from living spaces. I guess having them both on one property is a North American luxury.
Mac stops to dig up some mountain potato. It’s a strange, giant, truffle-like potato that grows deep in the ground.
After our work, we drive to Bungo-Takada for some famous ramen.
On the way home, we stop at another gym member’s impressive garden. Along with a bounty of fresh vegetables from Mac’s property, we also receive a huge bag full of fresh greens and peppers.
Back at home, we survey our huge loot from today’s brief work. We will be eating well for the next few days!
Here are some of our cooking attempts: