How far can vegetable go in Tokyo, the challenge in one of the Hearts of Gastronomy

“Conventional / Local Farm SAKURA” in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, is about an hour by car from the city center of Tokyo. This is a farm run by “ALL FARM” operating five restaurants in Tokyo. Opened in 2012, this farm grows 50 to 60 items and 150 to 200 varieties of vegetables per year in open-air cultivation.

“We start harvesting at 4am in the summer and at least 6am in the winter to make it for the lunch hour. We ship it in the rain or even on a typhoon. “ saids Takuya Terao, the head of the farm. He said he was particular about the farm location since he wanted the customers to enjoy the ultimate deliciousness of the fresh vegetables.

“We searched for a farmland within an hour drive to Tokyo. We’ve looked around Kanagawa, Saitama, and Yamanashi, and we decided on Sakura City, which had relatively large farmland and proximity to Tokyo.”

But why insisting on doing Farm to table in the Tokyo metropolitan area where it must have been difficult to secure farmland? It could have been easier if it had been more away from larger cities. A fateful encounter with Keisuke Furumori (President of ALL FARM, head of the restaurant division) may have played the key role.

“We met in high school in Kyoto and talked about doing something together someday. ” Eventually, I made my way to agriculture in Osaka and Furumori became a chef in Tokyo.
Komori and I were defining what “delicious” is and examined what can be done and we decided to serve vegetables, a daily and simple ingredient, in the most flavorful way. And if we were to challenge, there were anywhere but Tokyo where food gathers, including high-quality French and Japanese cuisine, and here we are. ”

The number of the farm location was only one at the beginning of 2012, has now expanded to ten. Seven staff members manage a total of approximate 6 hectares (60,000 square meters).

“What matters the most is how to bring out the best in our vegetables on the plate to project their exquisite value. Farm team will keep that very principle in mind to determine what vegetables to produce in order to ensure our brand quality.

Carefully grown Kale in “SAKURA Farm”, a local farm located throughout Sakura City. All vegetables are grown in pesticide-free and chemical-free fertilizers and shipped to restaurants in Tokyo.

Offering seasonal vegetables to have people feel the seasons and the nature of the farm

Furumori, Terao’s partner, oversees the “Food & Drink Team”. In 2014, one and a half years after the opening of the farm, “WE ARE THE FARM” , the first restaurant opened in Yoyogi Uehara. The reward of having a farm and working on Farm to Table is the direct encounter with the end-user, the customer.

“It’s a delight to have our customers to be aware of what and how vegetables grow and to share the story of the growing process while they enjoy the very vegetables”

In order to have customers feel the season with the vegetables, we are particular about growing our produce in an open field cultivation. A variety of vegetables are lined up throughout the year at the supermarkets but not to mention in an open field cultivation, some vegetables will be out of stock from time to time.
“I have a feeling that seasonal vegetables grown in the open area are powerful and delicious, but it was difficult during the first and second years after opening the store. We didn’t have enough knowledge and had to see no vegetable dishes from the restaurant menu because we could get any(laughs). ”

There are times when you harvest huge amount of single vegetable. One Summer, there seemed to be only eggplants on the menu. “The customer asked me if there’re only eggplants so I told them there were just so much eggplants”(laughs). In the fall / winter season of 2017, the 3000 kales we planted grew far more than expected. I rushed and thought about all-you-can-eat kale buffet, but that’s all fun. “
Furumori-san sometimes requests the Farm Team to send the “reality” of the farm as much as the season vegetables. “Like having beetroot leaves delivered I for the salad, which is usually discarded or some flowers from the cucumber. Introducing the true state of the season vegetables and introducing the ways to enjoy the direct vibration from the farm is the Farm to table which ALL FARM suggests.

Vegetables harvested in morning being brought to the restaurant. Unique vegetables lined up on the counter.

PROFILE

Keisuke Furumori
President of ALL FARM Co., Ltd. Established ALL FARM after training at Japanese restaurants and teppanyaki restaurants. Supervises the restaurant “WE ARE THE FARM” with 3 locations in Tokyo and “STAND BY FARM” with 2 locations.

Takuya Terao
Director, Executive Officer, Farm Manager, ALL FARM Co., Ltd. Engaged in a farming association in Takatsuki City after graduating from university, and later founded ALL FARM, working on making fixed and native varieties of vegetables with seven staff members.