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JAPAN [Aomori]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #25


Fruit that Really Does Keep the Doctor Away


text by Michiko Watanabe / photographs by Daisuke Nakajima / 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.

Masaaki Todome has been growing Kogyoku apples organically for over 30 years. When we caught up with him, he was spraying his trees with a bonito and seaweed extract rich in calcium. “See how the leaves grow thick and upright?” he said. “They’re the lens for photosynthesis. The more light they catch, the more starches are built and the sweeter the fruit. Calcium makes the apples dense and last longer.”

After college Todome spent half a year studying apple cultivation in Oregon, where much of the focus lay on increasing yield, even at the expense of growing sturdy trees. There an old back injury worsened, which led him to study acupuncture and moxibustion. He realized that the production of healthy fruit demands healthy growing practices, and today he incorporates holistic Eastern thinking into his farming.


Masaaki Todome sprays his orchard with mineral-rich nutrients including proline, derived from seaweed and fish, to stimulate growth. 


(photo left)Well-nourished leaves grow thick and stand upright. 
(photo right)The latest organic repellents hang in the groves. 


Harvesting is done when the flavor profile is at peak tartness and sweetness. A polish brings out the fruit’s natural shine.


(photo left)Todome’s apples are so heavy he designed his own boxes to facilitate transport. 
(photo right)Insect-damaged fruit is harvested and the unblemished parts processed. 


Todome is the seventh generation of apple growers in his family.

◎Warakudo Wholesome Orchard
28 Akedo, Nanbu-cho Omukai, Sannohe-gun, Aomori
Fax 0179-22-3085

(The Cuisine Magazine /December 2018)