Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens ＃02
Cold-Pressed and All-Natural, Straight from the Land
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.
In the heart of the Shimokita Peninsula at the northernmost tip of Japan’s main island lies Yokohama-machi, a rural township facing Mutsu Bay. Its official flower is nanohana, that of the rapeseed plant, an oilseed crop for which this area once claimed the largest acreage in all of Japan. Wishing to protect this land and its vibrant springtime blooms from development, Shigeru and Keiko Miya founded the Nanohana Trust in 2002.
“With a subsidy we were able to purchase an oil press, but we still had no means of refining the product,” recalls Shigeru of the group’s early days. By 2007 they had obtained the first permit issued in Aomori prefecture for edible oil manufacture, and set about finding clientele. Planting, harvesting, threshing, winnowing, and drying are all done by hand. Of the five tons of rapeseed oil the Trust now produces yearly, two are virgin first-press.