Translated by GonzalezLaura
Sakano tochu soil - Your Source of High-Quality Vegetables in Kyoto!
Written by SakamotoAyako
Sakano tochu soil is a greengrocer located in Kyoto, where you can find vegetables grown with the environment and consumer in mind. If you would like to cook for yourself, pick up organic ingredients from this hip grocery store!
One of the joys of being a traveler is getting to try foods at local stores which you can only get in that area. This time around though, we'll be deviating from the norm, and talking about some "home cooking".
Recently there has been an increase in guest houses with kitchens and fully stocked kitchen goods. You buy the local goods from that area, and cook it with your own two hands. Isn't that really what luxury is all about?
Despite this though, it's hard to find a good shop while traveling. For those who find yourselves in the same situation, we'd like to introduce to you a lovely concept greengrocer in Kyoto.
Kyoto's Saka no tochu soil - "A small greengrocer"
The name of the shop is Sakano tochu soil. The store is located nearby Tōji, a temple famous for its five story pagoda.
Sakano tochu is actually a company that buys produce directly from farmers, and sells it to shops and individual customers. Their motto is "Let's stop borrowing from the future", and with that in mind, have a goal to spread the number of farmers that don't rely on the use of pesticides and chemicals that exhaust the land.
The Sakano tochu soil store we'll be introducing today, is the brick and mortar front for the aforementioned Sakano tochu.
Sakano tochu soil's concept is, "a small grocer". What exactly does that mean?
This is the outside of the store. It's very trendy, and doesn't look very much like a greengrocer.
Once going into the store, you'll see some colorful vegetables lined up on wooden shelves.
We heard that all of the shelves were hand-made by woodworkers in Kyoto. While there's a stark difference between vegetables and shelves, you can note that both were made with the utmost care. You can feel a sort of warmth, and peace of mind when being surrounded by such items.
When taking a look at each of the vegetables, you might notice that either the vegetables are subdivided, and of smaller size than those you'd find at a regular super market.
Mr. Taniguchi, the store's manager told us that "We sell vegetables even in very small quantities, so that we can ensure to sell vegetables that don't provide a stable harvest".
It seems that when farmers try and make produce without using agricultural chemicals, or those who recently tried to start farming themselves, you inevitably get a smaller amount of produce. It's said that Sakano tochu soil started as a market for these niche farmers. That's why the shop's concept is "a small greengrocer".
Also in contrast with regular super markets, they don't sell potatoes in pre-packaged bags, but rather by weight. This way, when staying at a guest house, you can make sure to purchase just as many potatoes as you will use.
Introducing soil's delicious vegetables
Kyoto is well known as a city for sightseeing, but did you also know that it also has a fairly lively agroindustry? Kyoto's rich underground water, Kamo River, as well as the extreme differences in temperature actually make it the perfect place to grow vegetables. Here we'll introduce delicious vegetables that you can get your hands on at soil.
Manganji red peppers
These manganji red peppers are very famous amongst kyoyasai (*1).
When hearing of peppers, most people often get the image of spicy foods. These peppers though, are characteristic for their sweetness. We recommend them as they are colorful, and get a great texture after stir-frying.
1…Kyoyasai (京野菜, Kyoto vegetables): Vegetables used in traditional Kyoto dishes, which have been cultivated in Kyoto since days past.
While carrying very typical kyosai-brand items, the store also sells out of the ordinary items such as the above vegetable.
These are banana peppers. They are peppers, but look like bananas, and have a slightly sweet flavor; this vegetable might just change what you've thought about peppers all along. Since it's fairly sweet, it might be good to add to a salad.
Aside from vegetables, the store also sells tea leaves, sweets, and other processed foods with no added preservatives. You might enjoy buying some of these for souvenirs.
When you're in Sakano tochu soil, you'll come across some vegetables and processed foods that you've never seen before. Due to that, we spent some quite a bit going back and forth through the various items in the store.
Let's eat Sakano tochu-grown vegetables
At sakano tochu soil, they also sell vegetables harvested from the company's own "mountain farm".
Of course the vegetables grown from the parent company don't use any kind of agricultural chemicals either. The company is not only worried about the Earth's environment, but for the health of each consumer as well. Also, the fields are not overly cultivated to ensure that the vegetables grow in an environment as close to natural as possible.
Upon asking Mr. Taniguchi, he told us that "Our "farm mountain" vegetables are very fresh. Because of that, we strongly recommend that you season them with salt, pepper, fry them lightly, and served them as a salad. We'd really like for you to taste the vegetables as they are, and by cooking them very elaborately".
When you're traveling, going out to eat at a fancy restaurant might make some good memories. However, we think that cooking vegetables on your own, from the locale which you are visiting, might be a new way to enjoy food during your travels. We are confident that you'll find exactly the vegetables you're looking for at Sakano tochu soil.
Sakano tochu soil
Address: Kyoto, Minami ward, Nishikujo, Hieijo-cho 118-2
Closed: 2nd Wednesday of each month and year end holidays
Credit Cards: -
Nearest station: Kintetsu Tōji Station
Access: 5-minute walk from Tōji Station, 3rd building down from the Kujō Ōmiya Crossing
Price Range: 1,000-3,000 yen
Phone number: 070-5347-0831
Official website: Sakano tochu Soil