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Archive for November, 2010

As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, we are growing all of our organic young barley grass at our parent company’s farms in Usa, Japan.  From my trips to our farms in Japan, I’ve noticed a few striking differences between American farms and Japanese farms.  In Japan, we use much smaller sized farms, we don’t use pesticides/herbicides, our farmers are older and more experienced, and the machinery we use is smaller. 

Does this affect the quality we get from Japan?  In fact, we get higher quality barley grass and powder from Japan because of their specialized knowledge, honed from 40 years farming barley on small plots where quality can be strictly controlled. 

Small Farms:  In Japan, a country approximately the size of California, the space suitable for farming is extremely limited.  In order to provide farmers in Japan with enough land to grow their crops, farms are divided into very small fields  scattered throughout the Usa region of Oita Prefecture.  At most, one of our numerous fields is 2.5 acres.  Because the fields are so small, each farmer is able to become very familiar with each plot of land, and more effectively grow crops.  These small farms also make it easier for the farmer to control the conditions (soil, nutrients, water) and as a result, can produce high-quality barley.

Use of Herbicides and Pesticides:  With the extremely large farms in the United States, it becomes extremely difficult to eradicate weeds, pests, and disease, once they gain hold at a farm.  Because they can spread so quickly, the use of pesticides is inevitable.  In Japan, fields are smaller and often surrounded by tall, dense vegetation which helps to prevent the spread of weeds, pests, and disease.  When a problem occurs at one field, we can easily cancel the cultivation of that particular field early in the process, thereby minimizing the expansion and impact of the problem to other fields.  The Japanese way of farming creates an environment where the use of pesticides can be reduced.  In order for us to eradicate weeds, we use machines as well as manpower.  Due to the fact that there is less to “look over,” our farmers can keep a close eye on their fields, thus avoiding the widespread use of chemicals.

Our barley fields are often surrounded by dense vegetation, to keep out unwanted pests and chemicals.

Career Farmers:  The farmers growing our barley have been with the company since it started, in 1969.  Throughout their 40 years of service, they have become experts in the cultivation of young barley grass.  Their intimate knowledge of proprietary cultivation methods, the land and climate have made them invaluable.  Growing young barley is not the same as growing barley (the grain) for food.  Specialized knowledge is required, and has been obtained by our career farmers.

Small Machinery:  Another big difference between the US and Japan is the size of the machinery used.  Because the machines are easy to handle and the growing area of each farmer is relatively small, there are many female and elderly people working in Japanese farms.  Our barley cultivation is also supported by many female and senior workers.  Their passion and dedication to quality allows us to offer the finest young barley grass.

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