Hokkaido’s Harvest Scenery: Autumn Edition
Hokkaido is known as Japan's food base, and is a treasure trove of a wide variety of foods, such as agricultural and livestock products, seafood, wine, sake and beer.
Autumn – from September to November – is the harvest season for fruits, potatoes and other root vegetables, rice, buckwheat and the like. It is also when marine products such as salmon and Pacific saury are landed.
We have gathered together some ‘taste of autumn’ harvest scenery, much anticipated by the people of Hokkaido.
Peak of potato harvest in Obihiro, Tokachi
This year’s potato harvest is reaching its peak in Hokkaido’s potato-producing region in the city of Obihiro. Due to the hot temperatures and lack of rain in July, the potatoes are smaller than usual and the harvest is expected to be less prolific than usual. Harvesting will continue until early October.
May Queen potatoes are grown on approximately 1,200 hectares of land at 200 farms in the Obihiro Taisho Agricultural Cooperative, and shipped as the ‘Taisho May Queen’ brand throughout Hokkaido and beyond, particularly in the Kansai region. Nishida, a farmer in the city of Obihiro cultivates Taisho May Queen on 10 hectares of land. On the 2nd, a specialist ‘potato harvester’ machine was operated along the ridges of the fields, sorting the potatoes by shape and size as they were dug from the earth. “The amount harvested will be less than usual but the potatoes are sufficiently sweet,” says Nishida. “They go well with any cuisine, so I hope that lots of people eat them.”
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 120,100 tons were harvested in Obihiro in 2019, the highest of any municipality on Hokkaido. The harvest in the Tokachi region accounts for 34% of the entire potato harvest in Japan.