In search of the perfect fruit
Our first stop of the day was a visit to Zen-noh fresh produce distribution centre. This state of the art facility was built in 2002 by JA, the Japan Agriculture Co-operative.
JA helps its farmer members market their produce by using a unique system based on proposals. Before a crop is even in the ground, representatives from the co-op meet with retailers/buyers from supermarkets part of the JA conglomerate in an effort to match local production capacities and specialties (soil conditions, production practices or inputs) with specific retailer needs. Each store negotiates its own proposals with the co-operative to ensure a fresh food supply customized to their consumers’ needs.
JA’s pride in what their members produce was very evident in their eagerness to let us sample some of their great-looking wares: cucumbers, pumpkins, tomatoes, apples, pears, grapes and persimmons. Delegates raved about the juicy pears, the flavourful grapes, the uniform size and colour of the apples…we were happy and satisfied tasters!
Kim Waalderbos is attending the Japan congress as winner of the 2007 Canadian Farm Writers Federation travel bursary, sponsored by Monsanto.