Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Fruits of Okagaki 2: Giant grapes raised with Chinese medicine!?

Hello again, and welcome to the second part of my delicious coverage of the fruits of Okagaki! We are now in the middle of July which coincides with the start of the local grape season, so what better topic for today's blog? The most talked about grapes in town would have to be the Kanpo Kyoho (漢方巨峰), a large and juicy sphere of healthy happiness! The name includes "Kanpo" which means "Chinese medicine" and "Kyoho", the name of a grape variety first crossed into existence back in the 1930s, and subsequently becoming widely produced around Asia and in some parts of other countries such as Chile and the US. Kyoho is a large, dark purple-colored grape that is very juicy and sweet, and when summer rolls around, they are often eaten skinless and chilled. 

The Kanpo part of its name refers to the fact that they are raised organically with the help of Chinese medicine formulations which replace traditional chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Whether this practice influences their flavor or nutritional profile, I am not sure, but it nevertheless is nice to have a local organic option! I don't know how common it may be in your country, but some fruit farms in Japan host "Fruit Hunting" days where they ceremoniously mow down a row of fruit trees with a Gatling gun**......no, that's not right...where they open the farm up to the general public and, for a given price, offer a fruit picking experience where you get to take home what you harvest! This is offered for local fruits such as mikan (mandarin/tangerine) and grapes, so if you like what you have read here about the organic Kanpo Kyoho, then I would certainly recommend a sojourn out to the local vines!

In the next blog, I want to move onto a different topic about Okagaki, but I may come back to talking about fruits and/or other local produce should something inspire me. Thanks for reading and see you next time!

**I couldn't resist the joke, but in the interest of providing fair and just information, the Japanese term 狩り (kari; hunting) used, in what I have (too) literally translated as "Fruit Hunting", refers to hunting in the traditional sense (hunting down and killing animals or enemies), BUT interestingly also works as "hunting" in the sense of "searching out and getting", much like English makes sense of the word in terms such as "Treasure Hunting". Another example of interesting similarities found between Japanese and English.

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