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vol.3

Rice from Mitsuwa Farm

Mitsuwa Farm's rice is highly talented, having won 10 consecutive awards in the international category of the annual International Rice Taste Analysis Contest, and the highest award, the Gold Award, three times (as of 2023). The chief executive officer of the farm is Masakazu Nagata. Her daughter, Nozomi Hatanaka, serves as the company's president and works hard to grow rice with her twin sister, Midori, and young staff.

In spring, Mr. Nagata carefully considers which varieties to plant in which plots, depending on the sunlight and wind exposure, and decides on a policy for the year. In the summer, water management and careful maintenance to prevent pests and diseases. In autumn, we determine when the rice has grown sufficiently, and harvest it on a clear autumn day when we say ``Now is the time!''. Harvested rice is matured for about three to six months in a storage room that maintains optimal temperature and humidity before being shipped. As it ages, Mitsuwa Farm's rice becomes grainy and the more you chew, the more delicious it becomes.

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Mitsuwa Farm Rice + EIRYO

At my salon, after the main dish, we serve rice from Mitsuwa Farm with salt musubi. The rice is a 1:1 blend of Koshihikari and Nikomaru rice by Nozomi Hatanaka. Koshihikari has firm grains, while Nikomaru has plump grains and a chewy texture. When you chew it, it melts smoothly in your mouth and disappears, leaving a sweet taste behind. Therefore, even after the main course of steak, many people smile and say, ``Even though I was full, I ate it in no time.''

I feel that Mr. Nagata's rice cultivation has something in common with French wine, especially Bordeaux. The basis of winemaking is terroir, that is, growing grapes according to the climate of each region, and Mr. Nagata's method is exactly the same. ``The length of sunlight, the amount of wind, and the distance from the river are different for each plot. Therefore, the varieties planted, the fertilizers, and the timing of mowing all vary from plot to plot.'' In addition, Bordeaux wine is made by blending multiple grape varieties to express the winemaker's commitment and the characteristics of the region. Mr. Nagata's method of blending rice to create the ultimate flavor can be described as the true Bordeaux style.

Nagata-san told me that if I were to use my own rice, I would like it to be made into silver shari or shio musubi. So I used rice lavishly and served one large rice ball, and Nagata-san said, ``Large rice balls require a lot of pressure when squeezed, so the rice is difficult to unravel in your mouth. We received feedback such as, ``I want you to do this.'' I was impressed by his attitude towards knowing rice better than a chef and pursuing the best taste. Mr. Nagata also taught us how to serve salt balls on magnolia leaves. This is inspired by Hida's local dish, Hoba miso. The homemade red turnip pickles made by Kazuyoshi Yoshima, a pickle expert from Hida, also added a touch of beauty. This simple dish is packed with the blessings of Hida's land and knowledge.

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Mitsuwa Farm Hida Koshihikari, Nikomaru rice balls

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Atsuko Kama (right) and Hideyoshi Kudo (left) 

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+EIRYO vol.3

Published on January 6, 2023

Cooperation:  Kamasake Brewery Co., Ltd.

Publisher:  Hideyoshi Kudo

Photo:  Shugo Takemi

Design:  Rintaro Mizuguchi

Editing and text:  Junko Ichihara

Published  EIRYO Co., Ltd.

5-56-4 Denenchofu, Ota-ku, Tokyo

TEL.03-6822-2274

 

*If you wish to print or reprint, please contact EIRYO Co., Ltd.

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