FLOR Kitchen is our way of sharing stories and products from the food heroes we have met in the course of searching for the perfect ingredients. We work with farmers who have the same goal as us that is to make an honest product.
Apricot Farm, Nagano
Takamatsu-san explained that a single apricot tree in his farm can bear him 600kg of apricots every year, which is why he and the farmers would take care of the tree like how they would care for a woman after birthing. They would wrap the trunks of individual trees in protective cardboards so that it wouldn’t be scorched by direct sunlight in the summer, and make sure the trees get lots of water. During winter, the farmers would start small fires in cans on the ground to stave the winter chill off the roots of the trees.
In order not to damage the fruits, the farmers’ wives who process the apricots chose not to use any machinery. Instead, each apricot is de-stoned by hand, then packed and sent to the freezer to maintain freshness, before they processed the fruit into jams, compotes, wine, and dried fruit.
Mirai no Gyo 未来の圄
Matsuda-san is like a French gentleman who proudly shared with us his modern farming techniques during our visit. He plants different varieties of blueberries in pots, instead of growing them on the ground, simply because this looked neater! His secret to good blueberries is to grow them with “amour” (French for love) and to eat them by the handfuls.
As blueberry trees grow quickly, they need to be frequently pruned or they become difficult to harvest. The blueberry farmer therefore never rests, not even in winter.
Matsuda-san takes pride in producing blueberries as large as 1.7cm in diameter. The large ones are separated to be eaten fresh and sole at markets or to cake shops he day they are harvested, while the smaller ones are made into compotes, jams, and cider. All the jams and compotes are made by hand in two large copper pots, and personally flavoured by Matsuda-san, which explains the Hennessy-flavoured compote. His wife runs the cafe and shop at the farm, making gelato and soft-serve ice creams out of the fruits they grow and milk from a neighboring farm.