I love farmer’s markets. Picking out heirloom tomatoes and fresh ears of corn at farmer’s markets used to be one of my favorite things to do when I lived in Manhattan. Last year during my 5 months in Argentina I searched for many weeks before I found the organic farmer’s market in Buenos Aires. It became my weekly go-to place for delicious yogurt and fresh produce. A glorious morning I spent at an outdoor market in Nice, France was one of the highlights of my time in Europe last summer. So when I stumbled upon the weekend farmer’s market in Aoyama in Tokyo my heart skipped a beat!
When I arrived just after 10AM on a hot and muggy August Saturday half the vendors were still setting up their goods. Right in front of United Nations University, one can’t help but stroll through and take in all the yummy things vying for your attention. Maybe it’s inherently built into the Japanese DNA, but the way that they present and make beautiful displays always seem to hypnotize me. I often find myself succumbing to its mysterious whispers and consider buying things I never knew I needed (I do snap out of it when I remind myself of my limited luggage space and the fact that I’m a nomad without a home).
Looking at all the fresh produce I felt a twinge of sadness that I couldn’t take the bounty with me. Yes, food envy runs deep in this one.
I loved that I could try the fresh corn cooked AND raw. They were so sweet and delicious that the corners of my lips automatically rose up. They reminded me of the best sweet corn I could get in the States, completely different from the corn I had in Korea. The Korean ones have to be boiled for almost an hour and they are not sweet. My guess is that they eat them for the chewy texture. I heard that sometimes sugar (or some kind of sweetener) is added to the water when boiling Korean corn. I tried them a few times and I have to say that I’m not a fan, or at least I don’t yet know the real taste of Korean corn. As for these Japanese ones, I give them two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
I had to get these gorgeous Fuji apples. I did climb Mt. Fuji after all and shouldn’t I eat Fuji apples when in Japan?
I can say that the ginger was really fresh and the ginger ale was exceedingly potent yet delicious. Did I try the eggplant pickles, too? Why, yes I did.
But my absolute favorite were the peaches. I ended up tasting a few different ones at a stall run by a couple of young guys, who were in great spirits and very friendly. They had ones priced at $1, $2, and $4. I couldn’t quite bring myself to buy a single peach for $4 but did get the $2 ones. It’s difficult to describe the subtle sweetness these peaches had… they weren’t honey-sweet, certainly miles away from being saccharine-like. Maybe a bit like dewy early morning sweet…??
There were also flowers and plants..
And food trucks selling everything from pastries to beer to sandwiches to coffee.