I have been seeing posts from friends here in Japan forever about fruit picking in the area, but with regular pregnancy tiredness and the average toddlerhood sass, we just haven’t really left the house lately on days off. We braved the 82 degree heat today (all of you back home will scoff at me for that as you sit in 100 degree Missouri, I’m sure) and visited a nearby blueberry farm. We were absolutely not disappointed.
We pulled up to a tiny farm, complete with several chickens, a greenhouse, some barn cats, and a small field of blueberries. As often is the case in Japan, we technically parked in the front yard of the Japanese family that owned the farm.
So far, our experience has proved that Japanese families run their businesses often out of one or two rooms of their own house, or their businesses are stationed directly on their personal property. Many have their business as the lowest level of their house, with their residence on the upper level.
Henry wasn’t 100% sure about the bugs, grass, ants, and hundreds of tiny toddler-sized trees, but he warmed up quickly after tasting a few berries.
As we entered the farm, the sweet Japanese lady at the front table explained to us how everything worked. Adult entry fees cost 500 yen, (equating to about $4.50) and all kids under 7 were free.
Most pick-yourself-farms know you will eat as you pick, but I have rarely had a farm ENCOURAGE me to eat all that I could. The Japanese woman bowed to us, motioned to the field, and said “Please PLEASE eat eat eat! As long as you want, eat eat eat!”
And that we did.
At the end of your picking, you can choose to take your basket of berries up to the front and pay to take those berries home, too. Takeaway berries cost 100 yen per 100 grams, which is actually WAY cheaper than you can even find in grocery stores in the area. A pint of blueberries from the store often can cost you anywhere from $5-$7. I expected our two rather full baskets to cost us a pretty penny, but amazingly we only paid 1100 yen (about $9.90) for a HUGE bag full of fresh berries.
And of course all three of us left with full bellies, especially the littlest one of us.
As we went up to pay, the sweet Japanese family all greeted Henry, and the workers who were renovating the family’s home even stopped their work to come interact with us as we paid for our berries. They first sent us with an extra to-go cup full of berries for Henry to eat on the way home, then proceeded to say “gift for you, gift for you!” We watched as they took our bag and scooped almost the exact amount that we had already picked right into our bag- completely free. We paid $9.90 for a little over 4lbs of fresh blueberries!
The kindness and hospitality of the Japanese will never cease to amaze me. Perhaps it is because we live closer to rural Japan than to any of the majorly crowded cities- but I am under the belief that this country has things down right. The slow, calm pace and sweet servanthood of every native you come in contact with will surely make you want to never leave the country.
Apple, cherry, and raspberry picking has now been added to our bucket list for sure.