Japan Food Quest: Kyushu

Kumamoto Shio Tomatoes
Gifts from the Sea

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Aired: September 23, 2016


Kumamoto Shio Tomatoes
Gifts from the Sea

Shio Tomatoes, or salt tomatoes, are cultivated in the area of Uto and Yatsushiro in Kumamoto Prefecture. They are grown on drained land, rich in salt and other minerals. Tomato cultivation in the area began 60 years ago, but the produce used to be considered salt-damaged and was eaten at home by the farmers or was disposed of. But as a result of the efforts of the farmers, the Shio Tomato brand became recognized around the country that it is now priced ten times more than other tomatoes. Farmers do not use any special tomato variety, but due to the distinct features of the soil, a typical tomato grows into Shio Tomato. It is a natural gift from the environment.

Teruhiko Sawamura organically cultivates Shio Tomatoes. In early spring, he goes to pick watercress and makes a natural fertilizer by mixing it with black sugar, which prompts fermentation of microorganisms. Other plants such as chocolate vine and bamboo shoots can also be used and they can be locally gathered in season. Sawamura makes the best out of natural resources in preparing soil and compost as well. Shio Tomatoes, a gift from the sea, have inspired farming done in consideration of nature and surroundings.

Shop Information

Higo Ayumi no Kai (Mr. Sawamura’s farm)

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201-1 Koura Shiranuhimachi Uki-shi, Kumamoto Map

Uki Saikan

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757-3 Kugu Matsubasemachi Uki-shi, Kumamoto Map

JA Yatsushiro

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2690 Furushiromachi Yatsushiro-shi, Kumamoto Map


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