The Springdell Show and Tell- Okinawan Addition


Greetings from Okinawa! As many of you know, I have been traveling these past couple of weeks and hence missed reporting on the 3rd Group A pickup of the Springdell Winter CSA. In place of that post, I wanted to share about some of my adventures in Okinawan agriculture. My primary reason for attending Okinawa was to study karate, but fortunately I had a nice dabble in the local farm scene as well.

Many of the local areas outside of the city had small shared gardens such as this one. Purple sweet potatoes (Beni imo) are a staple vegetable here, extremely nutritious and served in many ways. Goya (bitter melon) is another common crop, used to make a delicious traditional Okinawan dish, Goya Champuru.
Sugar cane is another primary crop, used in Andagi (donut-like) and chinsko cookies. Brown sugar from Okinawa is other worldly.
Here you see the process of the sugar cane being stripped and prepared for boiling.
Here is a large vat of cane syrup being processed, very similarly to maple sugar. The brown sugar can be made into a delicious cane juice, or crystalline sugar. The flavor is distinct to the region, much like New England maple syrup.
Sea grapes (or umi budo) are commonly found in local dishes, or served on their own. With a unique pop similar to fish roe and a fresh and salty taste of the sea, they are quite good and good for you!
Here you see the sea grapes served with a sea lettuce soup, and the freshest sashimi I’ve ever had the privilege to enjoy.
Here’s a local salad of pea shoots, cucumber, and sweet potato.
Over in mainland Japan, there is a process that is unsurpassed when it comes to cultivating the “perfect” fruit. These prized grapes and melons cost from 50-200 dollars each. Some melons auction for up to 50 thousand dollars a piece. The care put into cultivating these individual fruits is phenomenal.
Okonomiyaki is a traditional omelette, or sometimes pancake, depending on the situation, usually filled with vegetables. Here is one made primarily of flour and scallion, crepe-like.
This okonomiyaki (in Tokyo) was more like the one I make at home, with cabbage as a primary vegetable and egg as a base. Click here to learn more how to make your own!

I hope you enjoyed this crash course through Okinawan agriculture! Though some of the cuisine is different from what we’re enjoying on this side of the planet, one idea that remains consistent: Fresh and local cuisine is best!

NOTE- For those in the winter CSA, be sure to let farmer Jamie know your choice of whole or ground coffee (Bali Blue or Guatemala), and whether you prefer a 12/28 or 1/4 pickup for crate #4. Meanwhile, enjoy crate #3’s featured item, raw and delicious honey! See you back here shortly for the next installment of the Springdell Show and Tell!

Oyasuminasai! おやすみなさい! Good night!


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food. She is involved with the Westford Community Garden Working Group, Friends of Fat Moon, and is the current chair of the Westford Strawberries 'N Arts Festival.

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