Chris: hello everyone, Chris here from Blue Belt Life. Today on Meet the Farmers we speak with the Ginza Farmers Market head manager, Higurashi Tetsuhiro. Higurashi-san, when did you start this market?
Higurashi: We started 5 years ago in April (April 2009), so we are running for around 5 years now.
Chris: originally what was your reason for starting up?
Higurashi: our company’s boss was looking into opening a market in Ginza, and at that time he met with lots of farmers, and many of them wanted to open a larger market. So we collaborated with Kotsu Kaikan and this Kotsu Kaikan Market (Ginza Farmers Market) was born.
Chris: how did you decide on this location?
Higurashi: firstly traffic, so being close to busy train stations, and then having a large space to grow in.
Chris: in the last three years how much has the number of vendors grown?
Higurashi: three years ago we had 15 vendors, and now we have 25 to 30.
Chris: are all the vendors here farmers, or can anyone be a vendor?
Higurashi: yes, farmers definitely sell directly here, but also those with close contact with farms, and really anyone who would like to help
the farms can be a vendor here.
Chris: can you explain a little bit about how to become a vendor here?
Higurashi: sure, go to the Kotsu Kaikan Marche homepage (www.kotsukaikan-marche.jp/), and send an e-mail to the contact e-mail provided there (email@example.com). After you do that we will reply to you with an application form. There you’ll provide us with necessary details, and then we can work out a schedule – that’s all there is to it.
Chris: what kind of goods are you selling here?
Higurashi: firstly fresh vegetables, and then agricultural products produced all around Japan.
Chris: is it mostly organic?
Higurashi: yes we sell organic produce, but also those using traditional production methods.
Chris: how is shopping at the Ginza Farmers Market different from shopping at a regular supermarket?
Higurashi: at a normal supermarket you usually shop without much communication with the shopkeepers. You just get your things,
proceed to the register and leave. Here, you can discuss anything with producers, like how to use in cooking, or how it was made, etc. So while you shop you can gain all sorts of information about what you are buying. Shopping here is quite a different experience to shopping at a supermarket.
Chris: what is your vision for the future?
Higurashi: for our future, we would like to further establish ourselves as the premiere market in this area.
Chris: lastly, do you have any message for customers or prospective customers of this market?
Higurashi: at the Ginza Farmers Market we have the best vegetables and produce from all over Japan. So definitely if you live close by, or if you have errands in the Yurakucho area, come check us out. Here is a place to shop, but also a place to communicate directly with the producers of your food. We think you will enjoy what you find here, and we hope to see you here very soon! Thank you sincerely.