There is the Earth Day Market which is held once a month in Yoyogi Park, and the Farmer’s Market on the grounds of the United Nations University in Omotesando, which takes place every weekend.
We first tried out the Earth Day Market, and since it is a bit of an expedition to get there, we combined it with a stroll in the forest of Meiji Jingu. As the name suggests, Earth Day Market it is a bit of a save-the-world alternative style market, where you don’t just find fruit and vegetables, but also some crafts, jams and marmalades, organic bath products and macrobiotic vegan falafel. The choice of produce was slightly below expectations, but on the up side, we were prompted to buy some seasonal veggies like a pumpkin (which we had never cooked with so far), and a piece of winter melon. It was fun to first buy it and then figure out what it is and what to do with it (we made a chilled winter melon and shrimps soup from it). And that the nashi (Asian pears) were organic, I am quite convinced of, since I found worms in two thirds of them 😉
One week later, we headed to fashionable Omotesando for the UNU Farmer’s Market. This one looks more like you’d imagine an actual market for food, and we returned home with our bags full of yummy fresh produce.
The price level of both markets is similar to that of a supermarket (meaning very high). Some things are cheaper, some cost just the same, and some are more expensive. In the last case, I prefer to think that the produce is much fresher and better, so it’s worth it. And in any case, I prefer to give my money to the friendly guy who actually grew the stuff instead of the Walton brothers (yes, they also own supermarkets here in Japan, for example Seiyu, which happens to be close to our home). Apparently, the farmers only get about 20% of what their produce is sold for at the supermarket, so coming into Tokyo and selling their wares directly is still a good deal for them.
Trying to eat local and seasonal food at least part of the time seems a worthy endeavor to me, and shopping at the market is much more fun and less impersonal than going to the supermarket. I guess, we’ll keep going back for more.