Protect traditional cucumbers! The young farmer turned Miyazaki’s head to commercialize

A unique traditional cucumber

Cucumber, one of the vegetables familiar to the Japanese. It is said that there are about 500 varieties of cucumbers grown in the world. A significant number of unique Japanese species are distributed across the country. However, it is rarely marketed, for example made in small pieces to produce vegetables exclusively for farmers, and many have become extinct.

Three young farmers stood up to defend the unique traditional cucumber variety in Miyazaki, Japan’s largest cucumber producing region. We have established a traditional cucumber growing facility “Kuri Lab” on abandoned farmland, with the aim of commercializing it through experimenting and testing farming methods.

One word pushed me back

The head of the project is Taichi Inomata (30 years old), a cucumber farmer in Shintomi-cho. We are growing Sagami Hanjiro (Sagami Hanjiro, Kanagawa Prefecture), which is characterized by crunchy, and Yamato Sanjaku (Yamato Sanjaku, Nara Prefecture), which is about 90 cm in size. Aodai (Aodai, Aichi Prefecture), is very thick and delicious when simmered with chicken.

Many traditional cucumbers have a strong aroma and bitter taste, which is said to be irresistible for cucumbers.

At Inomata’s own farm, he grows a standard cucumber called “Tsunesho” in 5 houses, and during the season, he harvests about 1,500 fruits a day. This is the 7th year of farming. I am attending the Faculty of Education of a university in Yamanashi Prefecture, but now I want to become a farmer like my father.

What motivated Mr. Inomata was the arrival of the store manager, who was strongly impressed by the taste when he brought his parents cucumbers to the pub where he worked part-time. I was touched by the saying, “Because it’s delicious, I’m confident”, so I dropped out of college and started farming in Shintomi-cho for the first time.

Bring the expectations of the country

Existence gave me the opportunity to take on new challenges as a farmer as the local town development organization “Koyu Foundation” (Koyu Foundation).

Join as the first student of the human resource development school “Sea Turtle University”, founded last year by the founding of the Shintomicho Tourism Association. Together with young people of the same age, I learned essential thoughts for business such as marketing through lectures from leading experts in community business and field training of the training camp system. Through the course, I was able to get to know a young farmer who will be the partner of the project “Kuri Lab”.

Mr. Inomata said, “I was attacked at Sea Turtle University to act rather than get lost.” Last year, through cloud funding, we obtained initial costs for setting up the “Kuri Laboratory” from inside and outside the province. About 60 people supported, including acquaintances outside the province and those who knew about the project via the Internet and offered to cooperate because of their love for cucumbers.

Add value to cucumbers with variety

Last September, we set up the “Kuri Laboratory” on abandoned farmland along the highway in Shintomi-cho. Last year, although the first crop was harvested, it is difficult to expect profits, so it was planted in an experiment. From this spring, we will shrink cultivars and expand our major sales channels at local supermarkets and morning markets with the aim of commercializing them.

We are planning to publish valuable growing data of traditional cucumber on the Internet to not only commercialize it but also to conserve rare native species. Mr. Inomata is so enthusiastic that he wants to give it to the next generation who want to develop it.

While growing traditional cucumbers, he is also considering enhancing unique crops such as “Cucumbers” that are native to Mexico. Mr. Inomata waits for spring with the thought “I want to spread the best cucumber” (Mr. Inomata). With the goal of “making the best cucumber in the world”, we are working hard to find better farming methods, such as focusing on Agritech, to solve agricultural problems with the power of our public. turmeric.

The aim is to enhance the value of cucumbers themselves by attracting diversity and energizing the cucumber farmer. The challenge of young people achieving high vision continues.

Make Miyazaki / Shintomicho the easiest field in the world! What is the new world of social entrepreneurship “Koyu Foundation”?