How Can I Bring Quality Items To Consumers
"Values are flat, world wide."
Thanks to the spread of new and popular organizations across the internet, consumers are able to easily access significant amounts of information. An unfortunate side effect of this situation is the fading advantages of places, distances, and value. It is possible that the value of things has started to go flat. This is not just the case in Japan, but in other developed countries as well.
So, how can we bring quality items to customers?
Nishida Orchards is focusing their attention on finding an answer to this question.
A Story Before You Eat
The peach trees are in full bloom with beautiful pink flowers in Tamana District's Nishida Orchard.
Soon they will bear fruit for the harvest in June.
Nishida Orchards cultivates around 30 different types of fruit, and does so naturally, organically, and without the use of pesticides. Nishida Orchards takes a unique, biodynamic approach to organic and natural farming methods by mowing, pruning, and harvesting in accordance with the waxing and waning of the moon. Work schedules are built around the gravitational pull of the earth and moon as it moves nutrients and water around the inside of the tree. This method actually originated a long time ago. During the new moon, all water and foreign matter is pushed down into the root. It is said that cutting the tree during this time allows the lumber to keep its quality for longer. Nishida Orchard utilizes this method particularly in the cultivation of Tsukiyomi Lemons, one of their flagship items.
In addition, Nishida Orchards holds a children's event called "Peach Camp" during the end of the harvest season for peaches in the summer. Natural cultivation methods makes it safe for children, so their parents can let them enjoy the wonders of nature without fear. There are no fertilizer residuals either, so the bugs and animals that coexist here are what make the event great. It is an occasion to teach children the importance of knowing the quality of the foods they eat every day, and show them what kind of environment quality food comes from.
Mr. Nishida believes this kind of pre-meal story is a necessity. Recently, people only seem concerned with taste and appearance and producers have begun to focus on mass production. However, the supply and demand rules are changing. Now people are demanding a story about why they want to eat a particular food. That demand started a movement. Of course, just having a great story is not enough to be convincing, it is the power of the fruit and produce developed by the intensity of this story must accompany it.
The Face Of Agrictulture With Potential, Not Scarcity
"Until now, the relationship between making and selling was fragmented, but that simply will not suffice anymore" says Mr. Nishida.
With the help of social networking sites, now you can see the faces of the producers and hear their stories while you enjoy their product. The overconcentration of mass produced goods in the world market does not suit Mr. Nishida's Orchard, where he has a large assortment of produce.
By cycling the fruit in order to suit the seasons, a diversity is created along a time cycle. This is how natural cultivation is currently conducted. Spring brings "Peaches", Fall is "Persimmons", and Winter has "Golden Kiwis". At Nishida Orchard, the main character of every story changes to suit the season.
"It's not about making something that you can trust yourself, it's about meeting the customer standards."
This is the thought process that has made our current methods possible. Not only does Mr. Nishida produce safe products without the use of pesticides, he focuses on production that meets the needs of the consumers and connecting directly with businesses.
Even businesses in foreign countries have taken an interest in Mr. Nishida's project. He meets once a month with partners in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore, and even brings them to Japan for a visit from time to time to show them the real potential of his orchard.
A Little Endurance
"If you don't provide diversity, you won't survive in the field of natural cultivation."
This is Mr.Nishida's environmentally friendly outlook on farming. A diverse environment is valuable for natural cultivation.
"Planting the same seedling can produce something large, or something small that does not bear fruit, but we will continue planting that seedling."
This is the pursuit and practice of new cultivation methods and actively, courageously circling the globe to meet people, and take the lessons learned to improve the Orchard. Junichi Nishida is the future of the Japanese farmer.
Writer : YASUHARU MOTOMIYA / Photographer : SATOSHI TACHIBANA
*Some of the images posted on our website have been provided by those whom we interviewed.
Nishida Orchard | 西田果樹園
KARAKU | 果楽
Sightseeing guide : Kumamoto Prefecture
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