A new twice-monthly veggie box option from now through November

Finding safe, pesticide-free, low or no additive, organic and/or radiation-free produce in Japan can be a challenge at times, especially if your Japanese isn't up to par. Not everyone is interested in this, or cares, I understand, but if this is something that concerns you or if you just want the convenience of a vegetable box, rest assured there are options.

I previously wrote about various places in Japan you can order veggie boxes from, some in English, but most in Japanese. Note that most of these places don't just carry vegetables and fruit, but most also offer meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and/or dry goods. I also explained how to sign up for one of the companies, Oisix, online.

If you've already done that and it's working out for you, yay!

If not, but you're still interested in signing up for a veggie box, you might be interested in the service that Wa Navi is providing this year. They're calling it the "Harvest of Hope 2012 Project" and will deliver fresh, low-agrochemical vegetables from Hokkaido Hopeland Farm twice a month starting in May and ending after the harvest season in November. The May order is going out tomorrow so it's too late for that one, but you can start in June. Delivery dates are preset, and you can either sign up for the entire season, or choose when you want to receive a box, as often or as little as you'd like.

The items for each month's box are also set (as an example), but they may vary month to month depending on the weather, market, among other factors.

Here are some examples:

June asparagus (green and white), leafy vegetables (mustard leaf, lettuce, etc), mini tomatoes
July lettuce, broccoli, snap beans, cabbage, green pepper
August tomato, bell peppers, green pepper, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, goya, shishito peppers
September      corn, edamame, kabocha, broccoli, cabbage, tomato, eggplant, green peppers
October potatoes, kabocha, carrots, onions, broccoli, cabbage, daikon
November       same as October

I asked what "low-agrochemical" means in this case, and was told that they avoid using chemicals as much as possible at the farm. They don't spray the vegetables, they use natural fertilizers, and hand-pick bugs off the produce. It's also worth mentioning, as I think I've mentioned in the past, that acquiring the organic certification here in Japan is extremely difficult, so many farmers in Japan, even if they farm organically, don't bother with getting the certification.

As an optional extra, Wa Navi said they will also be sourcing organic, non-homogenized and low-temperature pasteurized whole milk and yogurt from Asurano Farm in Hokkaido.

From Wa Navi:
"Their signature milk is produced from free-range cows that eat pesticide-free Hokkaido grass, and is packed and sent directly from Hokkaido. They are also dedicated to their unique pasteurization process which conserves important vitamins, minerals, and protein. The calcium of the milk is quickly absorbed, so it is perfect for children growing up."
Other optional extras includes Ezobuta sausages made from free-range pork and additive-free string cheese made from jersey cow milk, produced at Hopeland Farm.

For every veggie box sold, they will be donating 300 yen to organizations supporting expectant mothers and mothers with young children who were affected by last year's earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku.

Cost (cool ship delivery fees included)

Veggie Box - 3,500 Yen

Dairy - 720 Yen
Includes 1 litre milk (290 yen) and 500 ml sweetened yogurt (350 yen) from Asurano Farm in Hokkaido, Also includes additional 80 yen fee for ice.

Sausage/Cheese - 1,430 Yen
Includes thin-skinned Ezo-buta pork frankfurter-style sausages (1,050 yen) and Momohana string cheese (380 yen)

Course A: Veggie Box Only ¥3,500
Course B: Veggie Box + Dairy ¥4,220                
Course C: Veggie Box + Sausage/Cheese ¥4,930
Course D: Veggie Box + Dairy + Sausage/Cheese ¥5,650

Residents in Fukushima prefecture get a 300 yen discount.

How to Order

You can fill out the online form with your contact details and then choose the dates you would like to receive your order. Changes and cancellations can be made in the future, but must be received five days prior to the next delivery date.

A few things to note 

I think this box could be a good option for some individuals or families, which is why I'm sharing it here on SiJ. However, the box comes twice a month, so this may not work for you, depending on how much you eat or where you source produce or dairy. We get weekly boxes - you can find some other veggie box places here, but I should mention that most don't have English signup/support, which is a plus for Wa Navi.

The produce isn't certified organic and some chemicals are used in the soil, though the farmers do try to focus on using as few chemicals as possible, as mentioned above, so this could be an issue for some folks.

I wasn't reimbursed in any way to share this. I think it's a helpful resource and Wa Navi is also a non-profit. If you try it out, let us know what you think!


You might also be interested in learning how to find a farmer's market in your part of Japan.

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