Pickles. They go well with alcoholic drinks, are eaten as side dishes for children and offer many possibilities. They also keep for a long time.
They make great gifts, as they are not only tasty but are a feast for the eyes, showing off the attractive colors of each vegetable.
This time we will introduce an assortment of bottled pickles from Doremi farm, with colorful, visually pleasant vegetables.
The farm’s pickles are also sold in farmer’s markets held in Aoyama, Tokyo on the weekends, as well as in general stores that stock groceries. The store front is always busy with people allured by the charm of the colorful vegetables in countless little bottles.
Here is why Doremi farm’s pickles make great gifts.
The vegetables pickled vary depending on the season, from lotus roots, bell peppers, Japanese ginger to quail eggs, but they are all vividly colorful. The vegetables packed tightly in hexagonal bottles create graphical patterns, and can even become part of a stylish room décor.
“We intentionally avoid putting labels on the bottles to make the vegetables look beautiful”, says Yukio Takada, owner of Doremi farm. It is not only the taste that is important for Doremi farm’s pickles. It is also the fun appearance of the vegetables.
Originally, Takada ran an organic farm and produced many varieties of western vegetables and fruit in small quantities. Even now he visits farms across Japan to teach the farmers there about organic farming, so he is fully equipped with the knowledge and information about where he can get safe and tasty vegetables.
“The best way to check the quality of a vegetable is by touching it with your hands,” says Takada. He sources various vegetables each season from reliable farms all around Japan, and has commercialized more than 520 types of pickles.
It was the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 that triggered Takada, who was an organic farmer back then, to begin pickling.
“When I was a farmer, I was growing and selling rare western vegetables and fruits with a high sugar content. I had many customers, but after the earthquake, the vegetables totally stopped selling. When I consulted my staff members about what to do, they came up with the idea of pickles and we started pickling the following day.”
It would seem like a highly courageous move to give up years of farming, but Takada, saying “When you take a new step forward, the sooner the better,” apparently started making his own pickles right away, without doing research on other manufacturers.
“I was confident in the raw ingredients because I had connections with farms from all around Japan. Besides, if you taste other people’s products before you have your own, you will end up being a copycat.”
The pickles from Doremi farm were born with Takada’s motivation to turn a bind into an opportunity, born from his confidence nurtured by years of vegetable farming.
The vegetables used for Doremi farm’s pickles are cut into different shapes depending on their varieties, and each pickle is bottled by hand.
Vegetables with attractive cross sections like lotus roots are arranged on the outside of the bottles and bell peppers are individually packed by hand to make a pattern with alternating colors.
“There are no strict rules about how the pickles are bottled. I make sure the vegetables’ colors and shapes look good. Intuition is important,” says Takada.
The beautifully bottled pickles become perfect pieces of work, through this hand-made process with a focus on human intuition.
We asked Takada about the best way to enjoy the pickles.
“They can be eaten as is, and the remaining brine can be used to make a dressing. You can also add tomato puree to it and make a great pasta sauce. If you are just using the chunks, you can chop them finely and make a tartare sauce.” Apparently, Takada is quite the cook. When he was an organic farmer, he would invite chefs and serve them the dishes he made, proposing ways to enjoy his vegetables.
Takada continues to pursue vegetables’ charms. We asked him what his future goals are.
“To make the best pickles in Japan. And someday, I would like to open a restaurant that uses great vegetables and meat from all around the country. There are many things I want to do,” says Takada joyfully.
Takada’s Doremi farm pickles express the maximum in vegetable power, in terms of taste and visual presentation. They are gifts that make both the sender and recipient happy.
Writer : YUKI MOTOMURA / Photographer : CHIE MURUYAMA ＆ SATOSHI
＊Doremi farm’s pickles are sold at the Aoyama Farmer’s Market and the store shown below.
|Address||5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo|
|Hours||AM10:00–PM4:00, Saturday and Sunday|
|Address||2-41-6 Sanno, Ota-ku, Tokyo|
Closed on Sunday