Savor Aichi’s Delicious Food In Winter! Vegetable And Fruit Picking, Gourmet, And Shopping

This article features the second tour of a program that introduces Aichi Prefecture food to the international community in Japan. This was the second tour, held this time in Tokoname City, close to Chubu Centrair International Airport and Hekinan City, which faces Mikawa Bay.

The six participants of this tour have lived in Japan for between one and a half to three years, and are originally from Brazil, China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam. This report covers a vegetable and fruit harvest activity, food, and shopping on a sunny day in February during mid-winter.

Aoi Park: Must-Visit Spot in Hekinan
Harvest Carrots and Mini Tomatoes, and Buy from Local Markets!


Outside of Aoi Park

Experience immersive agricultural activities at Aoi Park in southern Hekinan. You can spend the whole day here. Buy fresh produce directly from farmers at Mogitate Hiroba and have fun harvesting in the fields with the Mogitori Taiken Noen activity. You can also try herbal hot springs and tour a greenhouse.


Hekinan Bijin, a type of carrot

We were looking for Hekinan Bijin, a sweet and delicious type of carrot grown locally.

The vivid Hekinan Bijin are sweet, have a delicious texture, but lack a distinct carrot odor. They are ideal for use in salads and juice. The cold in winter increases the sweetness, making them great for stewing, too. Their harvest time is from mid-November to early March.


Tour participants

Advanced reservations are not needed to join in the agricultural activities in Aoi Park, making this popular with locals, who come and harvest the various vegetables, like carrots and daikon radish. It costs 150 yen (including tax) to collect four carrots.

A worker showed us how to pull carrots during the tour. They described it as easy: decide on the carrot you want and pull up on the leaves right by the soil. The carrots are buried in the earth, so you don’t know how large or small they are. Not knowing is part of the fun—you will hear shouts and surprised voices across the field when people first pull them out of the soil.

The carrots are grown on sandy fields, so we enjoyed the harvest without getting our shoes dirty.


Mini tomatoes

Next, we picked mini tomatoes. It costs 300 yen including tax for a 30-minute all-you-can-eat (you cannot take them home). Aoi Park grows Chika, a type of red mini tomatoes, and Yellow Mimi tomatoes that are yellow, as their name suggests.

The worker also explained, “The soil here at Aoi Park is full of minerals as the ocean is close. Also, the sea breeze results in sweeter tomatoes. Even those of the same variety are not as tasty as the tomatoes here.”


Upper-left, lower-left: Participants originally from Indonesia. / Right: Making carrot juice

A participant from Indonesia exclaimed with a smile, “Normally my child doesn’t like tomatoes, but he’s eating them today!”

We made carrot juice after the mini tomato picking. The participants initially from Vietnam seemed impressed with the naturally sweet flavor. They asked, “Is this just from carrots? Is there any sugar added to this?”

The staff then showed us the juicing process, peeling the carrots first and then simply juicing them.


(Left) 400 yen including tax for one large bag of carrots/(Right) Mogitate Hiroba

After the agricultural activities and juice, the group moved to shop at the Mogitate Hiroba, a market where customers can buy produce from local farmers. You can purchase large quantities of Hekinan Bijin. Tour participants bought some local vegetable here.

Aoi Park
Address: Aichi, Hekinan, Eguchimachi 3-15-3
Telephone: 0566-43-0511
Business Hours: 9:00-17:00
For more information on Aoi Park, please see
https://the-way-of-japan.com/fruits/en/2017/04/20/456/

Sunset Walker Hill & Neighborhood in Tokoname –
A Farm Restaurant with a Great View!


Sunset Walker Hill

Sunset Walker Hill is a restaurant located on a small hill facing Ise Bay within the grounds of Oregon Farm, a tourist farm in the city of Tokoname.

The building was built in a country-style using wood. Visitors can enjoy here American course meals made with meat, rice, eggs, vegetables and fruit produced in Aichi’s Chita Peninsula.


(Upper left) Steak Lunch (3,132 yen, with tax)/(Lower left) A Vietnamese guest who loved the meat dish at this restaurant./(Upper right) Salad with a homemade dressing using local vegetables/ (Lower right) The Muslim family from Indonesia was offered a strawberry burger instead of beef.

The tour participants tried the Steak Lunch set meal, which consisted of a thick steak made with Chita beef, a domestic brand of Wagyu (Japanese beef).

A fresh vegetable salad with an original dressing is offered as an appetizer. The soup contains broth made with onions, cabbage, daikon radish, carrots, and beef, and you can feel the deep flavor of the vegetables in it.


Picture taken during the winery tour

After lunch, the farm owner took us to Neighborhood, the winery adjacent to the restaurant. This is where they make wine using the grapes grown on the land of Oregon Farm.

Sunset Walker Hill & Neighborhood
Address: Aichi, Tokoname, Kanayama Johakuda 130
Telephone: 0569-47-9478
Business Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
*To visit the farm, please make a reservation.

Oregon Farm: A Must-Visit Spot in Tokoname
Taste Sweet, Delicious Strawberries during a Strawberry Picking Experience!

Next, we headed to Oregon Farm, which is at the same location as Sunset Walker Hill.


The strawberry garden

Oregon Farm is a tourist farm that grows strawberries, blueberries, and wine grapes. We picked strawberries of the type called Akihime, which is loved for its excellent balance of sweetness and sourness.

From winter through spring, there are many days with clear weather in the Chita Peninsula. Because the strawberries are exposed to a constant amount of sunlight, they become very sweet. Music is played in the greenhouse, which apparently has a good effect on the strawberries.


An Indonesian participant enjoying strawberry picking

A strawberry picking session lasts 60 minutes and the participants can eat all the strawberries they want. The fee for adults is 2,000 yen (with tax) and for children 1,700 yen (with tax). To add flavor to the strawberries, the participants receive condensed milk free of charge. For an extra charge of 100 yen, you can try eleven types of syrup. By combining them, you can make your own original sauce!

Visitors can buy strawberries at the souvenir shop located on the farm grounds.

Oregon Farm
Address: Aichi, Tokoname, Enokido Umashinden 213
Telephone: 0569-89-2613
Business Hours: 9:00 – 16:00
Time for strawberry pickings: Mid-December – Late May
For more details on Oregon Farm, please refer to the following article:
https://the-way-of-japan.com/fruits/en/2019/02/12/3090/?noredirect=en_US

It was a day full of fun and delicious treats! The participants who live in Aichi all say that the fruit and vegetables made here are very delicious. We would like everyone to come and taste freshly picked vegetable and fruit!