Visiting apple farmers in Hirosaki City, Ajigasawa Town, and Sannohe District

There is a saying that goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apples are reliable fruits that not only decorate our dining tables, but also support our health. There is also a theory that apples have been cultivated in Europe since BC. Apples also appear in the Old Testament as the "forbidden fruit" of Adam and Eve, and it was the apple that led Newton to discover the law of universal gravitation. Historically, the "King of Fruits" has had an inseparable relationship with humanity. We visited the farmers who carefully nurture these apples.

 The location is Aomori Prefecture. The prefecture produces approximately 60% of the nation's apples, but Hirosaki and its surrounding areas are famous for their apple production.

Mr. Nagayama from Machida & Machida Shokai Itayagi Branch, with whom we have a long relationship, will be guiding us around apple farmers in the Hirosaki-Ajigasawa area. Since its founding in 1892, it is a long-established company that has been supporting and contributing to farmers through the sale of fertilizers and agricultural materials.

Early September. The blue sky is dazzling. The scenery soon changes from a cityscape to a field of orchards. It is a unique landscape where all the apple trees seem to be coming together all at once. 

 The first person I met was Yoshihiro Shimoyama. He is a veteran farmer who grows apples on a plot of land the size of one hectare. Perhaps due to the individuality of each variety and tree, the fruits display a variety of colors that look like beautiful gradations. As he was admiring the food, he was encouraged to "please eat." Feel free to gently pick one off and have it. The freshness in my mouth and the refreshing scent in my nostrils felt like a gift from the earth and proof of the love that Mr. Shimoyama had carefully cultivated.

 ``Around the beginning of June, I spray about 10 liters of Jelly Tide on the roots. This helps prevent vine cracking.'' ``For foliar spraying, dilute PK 500 times twice and use Bitter Pit (Ca deficiency). ``Cogen G prevents oxidation. Even cut apples do not turn brown.'' ``In August, we spray 500x potassium silicate on the leaves.'' ``It is better to use 055 at the end of the day for coloring.It is faster than autumn leaves.If you use a one-shot coloring agent at 500x, the color will be applied beautifully and it will look very good.''We have many years of experience and achievements. Based on this, Mr. Shimoyama and his colleagues are working on apples while devising various ideas.

Next, we headed to Takashi Shimoyama's farm. Here, near the base of the apple tree, a cute little frog appeared.


 Less than an hour by car from Hirosaki. Mr. Nagayama drove safely to Ajigasawa Town.                            
The town of Ajigasawa, which faces the Sea of Japan, produces specialty seafood such as squid and flounder, as well as watermelons, melons, and apples. (In the past, an Akita dog named Wasao was so popular that it was even made into a movie, but now it has passed away and has been turned into a bronze statue.)

 We visited four apple farmers in Ajigasawa Town. The last name of all of them is ``Kami''. Of course they're not relatives. It is said to be a common surname in the village.

Ajigasawa has a different climate and soil than Hirosaki. Therefore, each of them seemed to have their own ideas for how to use fertilizers and other materials.

``Because they get destroyed by frost, I have to apply cogen 055 and glucose when the first flowers start to bloom.'' ``I always use 1 liter of PK. In August, I use 2 liters.'' Multiple people. While working on the project, Ms. Kamimumi spoke to me.

At Koji Kami's place, I came face to face with an apple I had never seen before.

The variety is called ``Chiyuki,'' and it is said to have a high sugar content and low acidity. Koji is still young, but he grows many different kinds of apples. He may be being rude when he says that he felt as if he were in a botanical garden, but he was once again impressed by the variety of apples.

 Yuki Kamiharu also grows apples for processing, which are used for canning and juice. ``The red apples are to be harvested at the end of this month, but even if each person picks about 30 boxes a day, it won't be enough.''As he travels around the vast grounds, he also encounters weak apple trees.

"It's Monba disease, and it's very troublesome," said Nagayama. To grow fruit trees, we must fight against various diseases. There are still many challenges.

At Akira Kagamido's orchard, harvesting of Orin was underway. ``Now that Orin is finished, it's time for Fuji.'' The sight of the plump red fruits shining brightly under the blue sky is a stunning statement. Then, when I suddenly looked to the side, I couldn't help but cry out.

Amazing number of cicada shells! I felt strangely emotional as I thought about the apple trees and the land that nurtured the life of the cicadas.


 Apple cultivation is also popular in other areas within Aomori Prefecture. I met Kenki Tomome, who runs an orchard in Sannohe County. He is a 39-year-old, full of energy and enthusiastic about research.

Tomome has been purchasing planting acid materials for many years from another retailer called Michinoku Matsuzen.

"Spread a mixture of Glycocal and Bloto F at the base of the tree as a base fertilizer, and then water the base of the tree with liquid potassium silicate diluted with water during the flowering season when they need water or during the dry summer season. I do! When I did that, I saw a lot less of the disease and the apples tasted better."
“Also, when harvest approaches for all varieties, not just Tsugaru, I use 055 to suppress nitrogen and PK Mag to promote coloration.”

``Other than that, we add acid materials according to what the plants need right now.'' ``Even if you cut the fruit and leave it for a long time, it won't turn brown due to oxidation, making it a fruit with antioxidant properties.'' I did.”

Agriculture is something that is primarily done by humans. Tomome's challenge and philosophy is how to draw out the power of nature from something that is ``artificial.''

 He also talked about study sessions to learn about the physiology and ecology of plants and proposals for tertiary industry. "From now on, the number of farmers will continue to decline. We need to create something that can be passed on to young people and that they can take an interest in!"

``I've heard more and more people who have received apples saying they like them so much that they want to give them to someone else as well.Also, the consumption of apples within my family has doubled!''

Later on, Mr. Tomome sent me an apple, and I would like to add that it was very delicious, with plenty of honey and sweetness.


I visited Aomori in early September 2022, and the temperature was close to 30 degrees Celsius, and the sun was even stronger. A month ago, the Hirosaki region was hit by a major flood. At Mr. Shimoyama's orchard, which I introduced earlier, nearly half of the four apples were damaged. However, when I met her, she showed me a cheerful smile. She sensed something like the farmer's quiet determination.

Climate change in recent years has been significant. Dealing with this issue is also an important issue. Several farmers have been told that they need to consider changing the way they use fertilizer.

No matter what situation we find ourselves in, perhaps what we are being asked to do now is to calmly do what we can now and face the plants and soil.

That's what I thought when I went to Aomori while watching the apple farmers.。            


For inquiries, please contact the email address below.