JOURNAL / JAPAN etc.(English)

JAPAN [Okayama]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #22


Naturally Grown, Naturally Processed


text by Michiko Watanabe / photographs by Jun Kozai / English text by Susan Rogers Chikuba

Though the times are always changing, there are certain timeless ingredients from Japan that will never go out of style. Yukio Hattori, president of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, introduces unique labors of love—items grown and produced with care and integrity by hardworking suppliers across the country.

“We grow a few different varieties of olives,” says Souichi Kanabe of the family business begun by his father shortly after World War II. “Arbequina are known for their well-charactered oil. Mission olives are firm with a slightly bitter taste. Manzanillo are good for eating; their skin is thick and flavorful. We also have self-pollinating Nevadillo Blanco trees. We harvest from September through late October.”

“My father wanted to try his hand at something new,” says Kanabe. “Olives were hardly known in Japan at the time, and that piqued his interest.” All harvesting is done by hand, and Kanabe produces just 2,000 50-milliliter bottles of oil annually. “The black salt-brined olives you see on the market have had iron added to them,” he offers. “Ours are brown because we want to keep things simple, with no additives.


A greater variety of trees means a better harvest. To prevent weevil infestation, before the fruit forms the trunks are lightly brushed with pesticide 30 cm above the ground; this is the only agrochemical used at Kanabe Farm. 

(写真左)工場を囲む植え込みで栽培されるマンザニロ種のオリーブ。ほかにアルベッキーナやミッションも植えられている。 (写真右)オリーブの塩水漬けは、薄い食塩水から、徐々に濃くしていきながら4カ月ほどで完成する。袋タイプはグリーンが740円、完熟(黒オリーブ)が790円(共に税込み)。

(photo left)Manzanillo trees surround the plant. 
(photo right)A bag of salt-brined green olives is ¥740; brown olives are ¥790(tax included).


The richly flavored tapenade is made of salt-brined green olives, olive oil, basil, anchovies, and capers. 


A jar of salt-brined brown olives is ¥1,080; the green sell for ¥1,080. Green-olive tapenade is ¥1,350(tax included). 


Souichi Kanabe took over the helm of his family's farm 40 years ago.

◎Kanabe Olive Garden
1879-1 Tamashima Kashiwajima, Kurashiki-shi, Okayama

(The Cuisine Magazine /February 2018)