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.
Summer fields filled with vivid Otofuke carrots as harvesting begins in earnest
The harvesting of carrots has begun in earnest in the town of Otofuke in the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido, which boasts the most prolific production in Hokkaido. There has been little rainfall this year, but the harvest is expected to be on a par with that of an average year, with fresh carrots being shipped to regions throughout Japan.
Carrots are grown on a total of 404 hectares of land at 125 farms within the town of Otofuke. In an effort to reduce the labor intensity of producers and stabilize production, the Otofuke Agricultural Cooperative has, since 2006, contracted-out sowing and harvesting work to local construction companies.
On July 30, five specialist harvesters entered the 4.3-hectare field to extract the bright orange carrots one after another. Within an hour of being harvested, the vegetables were transported to the agricultural cooperative’s cleaning, sorting and pre-cooling facility, where they were washed with water and sorted visually by workers and special cameras according to shape and quality. After being packed in boxes, the moisture is evaporated and the carrots are cooled to the core in a vacuum pre-cooler before being shipped.
Approximately 14,000 tons of carrots are expected to be harvested this year, with 90% of them shipped to destinations outside Hokkaido, such as Okinawa, Kyushu, and Kanto. According to the agricultural cooperative, “Otofuke carrots have a strong flavor and refreshing aftertaste. We hope to maintain the high level of freshness and deliver them nationwide.”