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Business opportunities are in the off-season! The northernmost strawberry in Honshu | NHK News


Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture

Business opportunities are in the off-season! The northernmost strawberry of Honshu September 17th 17:03

Everyone loves strawberries! From winter to spring when the season comes, there are many varieties in the supermarket.
The strawberry production area is now the Shimokita Peninsula, Aomori Prefecture, which is the northernmost point of Honshu.
Why are strawberries in the Shimokita Peninsula where summer is short and winter is strong? I interviewed the reason. (Aomori Broadcasting Station Mutsu Branch Reporter Hiroe Sano)

The protagonist of sweets! Strawberry

A crepe store in the center of Shibuya, Tokyo. Sweet lovers make a line, especially high school girls.

This store uses strawberries from the Shimokita Peninsula at this time. The strawberry season is from winter to spring, but this strawberry is harvested from summer to autumn, so it is called “summer autumn strawberry”.

The sourness is perfect for cream.

From summer to autumn from Shimokita

This chain store, which has more than 150 stores nationwide, covers approximately 70% of the domestic strawberries used from summer to autumn from Shimokita.

Compared to imported products, “Summer Autumn Strawberry” can be offered with high freshness even in the summer, and is said to have strong inquiries for business use such as crepes and cakes.

Masami Kawabata, who is in charge of purchasing this company, said, “Overseas products take time to transport, and strawberries are damaged and loss occurs. On the other hand, Shimokita strawberry arrives at the store in 2 to 3 days and has high quality. We were able to provide customers with strawberries, ”he explained.

Business opportunities are in the off-season!

I visited the Shimokita Peninsula.

Along the mountain road in Higashi-dori, there was an agricultural house. Mr. Ikuo Murata (58) first started production here.

Mr. Murata originally competed for vegetables and fresh fish at the wholesale market. From that experience, I realized that domestic strawberries were not available in the summer.

Nearly 20 years ago, using the cool climate of Shimokita, we started the challenge to make strawberries during the “end season” from summer to autumn.

However, it was a continuous struggle at the beginning. In the Shimokita Peninsula, a cold wind with a fog “Yanase” blows in summer. “Is it possible to cultivate strawberries in such places?” ー ー ー Some people say they are against it.

At the beginning, we could only harvest a little, and when we finished the second year, the debt had grown to 20 million yen.

At that time, Mr. Murata met with a supplier in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. He introduced strawberry seedlings grown mainly in Hokkaido.

This seedling could be grown almost regardless of the season. When this was planted from the third year, the strawberry yield began to increase gradually.

Furthermore, the transaction price for strawberries was a tailwind for Murata. Do it twice or three times as much as winter strawberries.

Mr. Murata found a business opportunity in the production of “end-of-season” that no one challenged. In the 18th year, the sales amount of last season has increased to 32 million yen.

Murata-san said, “I was convinced that if I made use of the unique climate of this region, I could sell it in the valley where there was demand. Strawberry cultivation, which started with a shift in thinking, could be one of the model cases that boosted agriculture.” Talking.

New young people enter the market one after another

Murata's success quickly spread to local farmers.

Following Mr. Murata, young farmers began to grow strawberries one after another.

At present, the number of strawberry farmers in the Shimokita region has doubled over the past five years to 26 people. More than half are young people in their thirties.

The sales amount reached 96 million yen in the entire production area, and it became known throughout the country as a valuable off-season strawberry production area.

We interviewed a farmer who started strawberry cultivation.

Mr. Sato (33) from Mutsu City.

After graduating from high school, I worked at a ramen shop in Kanagawa Prefecture, but I returned to my hometown four years ago to work in nature.

After being trained for 1 year under Mr. Murata, we borrowed land that was a wilderness and started to grow strawberries alone.

It means that he had no experience in agriculture, but he started the construction of the house and now has four buildings.

Why did Mr. Sato, an agricultural amateur, be able to grow strawberries?

There is a network of production areas, including the founder Mr. Murata.

Murata-san gives me detailed knowledge about production, such as how strawberries grow and how to control pests.

Furthermore, since the strawberry produced is shipped through an association organized by Murata, there is almost no worry that the sales channel will be secured and unsold.

Mr. Sato says, “I am very encouraged to consult Mr. Murata immediately when I need help. I want to make high-quality strawberries that can be eaten more safely while expanding the scale.”

Expanding off-season business

According to the Ministry of Finance trade statistics, imported strawberries used from summer to autumn in the off-season have been about 3,000 tons per year in the past five years. The amount is approximately 3 billion yen.

In order to switch to domestic strawberry production, strawberry production aimed at the off-season is now spreading in Nagano and Hokkaido.

There is also a move to find business opportunities in off-season for other crops.

Last year, seed maker and national research institute succeeded in developing a new pumpkin variety. This pumpkin can be shipped from winter to spring, when domestic production is scarce, and is expected to lead to new demand.

In addition, an agricultural production corporation established by a construction company in Ishikawa Prefecture is making efforts to ship cabbage grown on abandoned farmland during the off-season for cut vegetables for business use.

The agriculture of Shimokita Peninsula is flourishing with young people to meet demand during off-season. Their goal is to become a 500 million yen production area.

I would like to pay attention to whether younger entrants can continue to increase the value of the production area.

Aomori Broadcasting Station Mutsu Branch Reporter Hiromi Sano Joined the 2016 incident and economic charge, and then covered the short cake from strawberries at the northernmost branch of Honshu

Source: nhk

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