Chris: Hello, Chris here from blue belt life and I’m here at the Ginza Farmers Market with my friend Maeda-san, my main supplier of all things Kyushu. Maeda-san, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Maeda: Your welcome.
Chris: First, can you give us an overview of what you do?
Maeda: Actually, my grandparents are farmers, so I wanted to support them. Because farmers are not so good at selling/marketing I want to support by using marketing and selling skills. That’s why I originally started in this business.
Chris: What goods do you specialize in?
Maeda: Shiitake, cucumber.
Chris: What area of Japan?
Maeda: From Kyushu. Actually it’s my hometown. A place called Miyazaki, and another one is Nagasaki. So we carry produce from Kyushu. Many people here worry about nuclear radiation because of the earthquake 3 years ago. So we care a lot about that impact on our food. That’s why we brought Kyushu’s vegetables. And I know Kyushu’s vegetables are very delicious and fresh, so I want to introduce them to the people of Tokyo. I guess this is the special quality – the taste is very great!
Chris: Do you sell mostly “munoyaku” (which means chemical-free) or “organic”? What is your produce mostly?
Maeda: Chemical-free is just a certification to me. Actually I don’t believe in the “organic” certification. I believe in the farmers’ behavior and their idea. I want to respect their idea, so that’s why I don’t care about the organic certification or anything like that. If farmers want to have the organic certification it’s going to be expensive, and they have many costs – so I don’t think I need the organic certification. It’s not necessary for me. We just focus on the farmers – their idea and their style. Maybe twice a year I go there and I ask the farmers what is the difference from last year, about climate change, or temperature, things like that. We need communication with the farmers, because as farmers, I guess vegetables are like their kids or their family, so it’s very tough to get their vegetables without good communication and trust. That’s why I go to their farm – to see how they work, and their life too. That’s a very important thing for me.
Chris: Thank you so much Maeda-san for meeting with us today.
Maeda: Your welcome.
Chris: Everyone, please come down to the Ginza Farmers Market. For all things Kyushu talk to my friend here Maeda-san. Hope to see you over here!