JOURNAL / JAPAN etc.(English)

JAPAN [Saitama]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #37


In Step with Local Growers


text by Michiko Watanabe / photographs by Daisuke Nakajima / English text by Susan Rogers Chikuba

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


Akito Takahashi’s grandparents owned a rice shop where they also sold locally made soy sauce, miso and their own brand of sauce. By the time his father took over in the 1970s,artificial sweeteners were common in sauce manufacture. “When concerns about carcinogenic risks made the news,” he explains, “our inventory was recalled and we suffered some losses. My father began studying all-natural, organic production.”

The Country Harvest line of condiments was launched 30 years ago after a long process of finding enough organic growers to secure a steady supply of the ingredients used, among them Nagano apples and tomatoes, raw sugar from Kagoshima, Okinawan brown cane sugar, and wine vinegar from Argentina. “Our suppliers’ concerns are ours. We work closely with them, even to improve soil quality.

Made with no artificial colorants, Country Harvest sauces have a bright, natural hue.

The wholesome puréed apple comes from Nagano 's fall crop. An organic grower in Saitama provides consultation to the tomato farm.

(photo left) Pressure cookers enable slow cooking at low temperatures, preserving the ingredients'natural flavor and fragrance.
(photo right)Okinawan brown sugar is hard to resist, even straight out of the bag.

Worcestershire sauce is left to rest for ten days before filtering.

Before Japan had organic ordinances, Takahashi was certified by QAI.

“Assisting our suppliers is the only way we can do what we do,” he says.

◎Takahashi Sauce
604-7 Shimonodo, Honjo-shi, Saitama

(The Cuisine Magazine / June 2017)