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  • Shounai Shokusan Group

    Visiting the Shosankai in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture and the Shonai Region

     The Shonai region, located in the northwestern part of Yamagata Prefecture, is a historical and cultural land surrounded by mountains and the Sea of Japan. We visited in the middle of August. The boundary between the blue sky and the ridgeline of the mountains is clear and dazzling. Among them, the most conspicuous part is the plain area with plenty of greenery. Swallows and dragonflies flying high in the sky. Swaying rice plants, green vegetables. The scenery is full of beauty that can be said to be the original scenery of Japan.

    "この風景の重要な構成員である稲や野菜たちは、いうまでもなくわたしたちの食卓にのぼり口に運ばれるのだが、その美味しさや安全性を長年追求してきた人々がいる。「庄内植酸会」の皆さんだ。  「植酸農法と出会ってから、もう30年以上になりますかね」。"

    Rice and vegetables, which are important constituents of this landscape, are of course brought to our dining tables, but there are people who have been pursuing their deliciousness and safety for many years. They are all members of the Shonai Plant Acid Society.
    "It's been more than 30 years since I discovered plant acid farming." Mr. Heiichi Tsuboike, the representative director of Sakata City's fertilizer dealer Sato Nagakura Shoten, said: “I have been researching various vegetables, rice, fruits, gardening, etc., but I feel that the effects and results of fertilizers and soil conditioners can be seen quickly in vegetables.” Sato Nagakura Shoten is a long-established fertilizer dealer with roots in the region, and has focused on the health of both the natural environment and agricultural products.
    It has been over 40 years since the previous president, Mr. Keijiro Sato, met our founder Toshio Masuda, was fascinated by the philosophy of plant acid, and hit it off with him.


     Hyoichi and other volunteers set up the Shonai Plant Acid Association, which continues to this day. The feature is that there are many vegetable farmers. The Shonai region is known as one of Japan's leading breadbaskets, but various types of vegetables are also shipped nationwide. The deliciousness and safety of the Shonai Plant Acid Society's vegetables have been recognized by Alquecciano, an Italian restaurant known for local production for local consumption.
    This time, I had the opportunity to exchange opinions on how to use fertilizers and agriculture while having dinner with the members of the Shonai Plant Acid Association at the "Alquecciano" head office.



     "It is said that cogen G is OK up to 250 times when raising seedlings, but when it comes to foliage,
    How many times better? "For foliage, the limit is 500 times. 300 times is too thick." It's proof that is alive."
    "I don't recommend foliar spraying of jellytide because it can leave a white residue on the leaves." I feel that G has the effect of preventing mold from growing.” “There is data showing that silicic acid is effective against high temperature damage.” It's hard." And so on, the story never ends, but the knife and fork never stop. It was a very lively and fruitful dinner where everyone's vocal cords were active at the same time while enjoying delicious dishes that used plenty of local ingredients.

     The conference hall will shift from a restaurant to a "farm" that is your field.
    Mr. Shizuo Sato's eggplant greenhouse. It was after the harvest for the day had finished, but I was allowed to sample the remaining eggplant raw. It is fresh and juicy, and has almost no acridity, and is even sweeter. It is a large eggplant of L size. It has a splendid appearance and taste, and is wholesaled at the request of department stores. ``If there is a lot of oxalic acid, it will cause bitterness. That depends on the environment of the soil. is general plant acid materials. Plant acid PK mug and plant acid jellytide are especially indispensable now. "In my place, it's a waste to have the fertilizer run down the sand dunes, but I apply liquid fertilizer so that the roots absorb the nutrients first, and then add ball fertilizer so that the nutrients can be absorbed slowly." It is a partner of eggplant cultivation. Shizuo is humorous and friendly, but harvesting every day is a lot of work. Everyone agrees that his wife's speed and accuracy in bagging is truly a pro. After various tasks, these eggplants set off.

    "皆さんのfieldである「農園」へと移行する。 佐藤静雄さんのナス栽培のビニールハウス。その日の分の収穫が終わった後だったが、残っているナスを生のまま試食させていただく。みずみずしくて、そしてえぐみが殆どなく、さらに甘いのだ。Lサイズの大きなナスである。デパートなどにも依頼されて卸している、立派な風貌と味だ。"



     Mr. Yutaka Tsuboike's mini tomato greenhouse was like a colorful little paradise. “Please eat as many as you can,” says Yutaka with a gentle smile. There are various kinds of mini tomatoes. Small and tight ones, long thin ones, yellow ones, etc. If you don't hesitate to compare the taste, you will notice the difference in taste again. "Yellow ones aren't very popular," says Yutaka, but when you eat them, they're surprisingly sweet and have no peculiarities. Here, plant acid materials such as plant acid cogen G are secretly active. Because it is a material that protects the roots, it is said that the cherry tomatoes will absorb the fertilizer nutrients obediently, and effects such as a stronger sweetness can be seen. Mr. Yutaka gave me a bag full of cherry tomatoes. When I opened the bag, the tomatoes were shining like jewels.




     The age group of the Shonai Sosankai is relatively high, but here a farmer appears who lowers the average age a lot. Takuma Kawamura, a full-time farmer in his twenties. Takuma, who has been farming for six years after studying at a local agricultural high school and agricultural college for one year in the Netherlands, is cultivating cherry tomatoes and other vegetables. “The training destination in the Netherlands was a glass greenhouse with a height of about 5 to 7 meters, and a company that cultivates 8 hectares of medium-sized tomatoes. I learned things while living with people, and I am devising and putting into practice what I can make use of.” In the first year, shipments were made through an agricultural cooperative, but from there I met the Shonai Plant Sanitation Association, and developed my own. He is a promising young man who pursues style.
    "It is an image of sprinkling Broat F for soil improvement, promoting growth with jellytide and PK Mag, adjusting the physiological circulation of crops with cogen G and ion calcium, and strengthening the roots with liquid potassium silicate." , Takuma. “I think it is important to select varieties in the pursuit of delicious vegetables. I feel that the range of vegetables that can be grown has expanded.”
    We also asked the young Takuma what kind of prospects he has for Japan's future agriculture. I feel that Japan is now at an important turning point where the nature of the primary industry is being questioned.
    “While helping each other in the community, there are opportunities to pass on technology and hear about the characteristics of the land and questions. I feel that it is important to build relationships.”“I think that in a large part of Japanese agriculture, we tend to grow crops 'with nature.' I believe that cultivating crops while searching for technology will lead to the development of Japanese agriculture.”
    Seeing Takuma-san, who continues to try every day while receiving advice from his seniors at the Shonai Sosankai, gave me a sense of the reliability of his role in the future of agriculture.

    " 比較的年齢層の高めな庄内植酸会であるが、ここで平均年齢をぐっと下げる農家さん登場。川村拓真さん、20代の専業農家である。地元の農業高校・農業大学校、1年間のオランダ研修を経て、就農6年目という拓真さんは、ミニトマトをはじめ野菜の栽培に取り組んでいる。"


     Agriculture in Shonai will be handed down from generation to generation, adding to the major issues of deliciousness, safety, and the global environment.
    "Red tide is a problem that is largely triggered by the land environment," said Hyoichi. He also said, "The cause is not only domestic and industrial wastewater, but also the improper use of large amounts of chemical fertilizers. People need to look again at the principles of nature."
    "Healthy vegetables and grains grow from healthy soil." And there, a variety of small creatures will build a rich world. Japan's unspoilt landscapes are not relics of the past that evoke nostalgia. Just as the livelihood of "agriculture" in the "village" continues in good health, so that the rich ecosystem including the "village" will be passed on to the future. I left the site with a feeling of prayer.

    " 「赤潮は陸上の環境が大きな引き金となっている問題ですよね」と兵一さん。「生活・工業排水だけでなく、一部化学肥料の誤った形での大量投入なども原因となっている。自然の原理というものにもう一度人は目を向ける必要がありますよね」とも。"

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  • Visiting apple farmers in Aomori

    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.。            


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  • Phytic acid cultivation Koshihikari "Den"

    Phytic acid cultivation Koshihikari "Den"

    Each grain of rice firmly insists on "individuality", but softly unravels in the mouth ... "Well, what is this!" I shouted unintentionally. I still remember the deliciousness of the rice balls I received in front of the hearth when I visited the Kayamori farm.

    "The tension and elasticity of the surface of the rice is different. Each grain is clear and the aftertaste is good. You can already see the difference when you cook it. This is the characteristic of the phytic acid cultivation Koshihikari" Den ". is. Noriyuki Kayamori, the owner of Kayamori Farm, says so. The 11th generation of a farmer who has continued since the Edo period more than 300 years ago. He talked to Noriyuki-san, who has been searching for and practicing delicious and safe rice cultivation for over 30 years.

    Mr. Noriyuki first encountered phytic acid cultivation in the early 90's. He was skeptical about organic farming at an early stage, as he focused on organic farming and tried it while studying. He "thinks he was fooled," and he tries the phytic acid liquid potassium silicate. A week later, he digs up the roots of rice and he is surprised. He made a clear difference when compared to organically grown rice. "It's just the ideal root shape." And he also admires the good taste of the harvested rice. It didn't take long for Noriyuki to switch from organic to phytic acid cultivation.

    He said that phytic acid cultivation felt a response from the first year, but he tried various ways of using it and felt the effect clearly in the fifth year. Noriyuki describes this as "the environment of rice has changed." By purifying and activating the soil by phytic acid, the original vitality of rice was activated.

    Furthermore, while using Phytic Acid Cogen G, Phytic Acid Phytic Acid Potassium, Phytic Acid Broth F, PK Mug, etc., unexpected effects are also discovered.

    "Phytic acid broth F is a true soil conditioner. Even if you take out the soil deep in the ground, there is no sludge odor, etc. I think it is definitely a soil preparation and a rice environment creation."

    "There are many scenes that can be solved with phytic acid Kogen G without relying on pesticides. Seed fir can be soaked in a 250-fold solution for two days, which will increase the momentum of rice growth.
    In addition, I feel that the immunity of the rice itself is activated. It has a high bactericidal effect. "
    "Phytic acid liquid potassium silicate sometimes stopped the erosion of blast disease and reduced the damage of stink bugs. My father grows more than 50 kinds of vegetables, but he also uses phytic acid there. By introducing it, it leads to pesticide-reduced cultivation. "

    When talking, Mr. Noriyuki had a friendly and laughing and easy-going image, but his life was just interesting. After he graduated from high school, he was reluctant to take over the farm. "When I took the entrance exam for Agricultural University, I gave a blank answer sheet." He reluctantly begins studying agriculture, but he cannot stay still during the off-season (winter). He is a waiter at a disco in Roppongi, and by the time he is 20, he jumps out into the world. His destination is the Americas. The poor travel abroad at that time was full of thrills and adventures. "I wonder if the overseas experience gave me a sense of courage," laughs Noriyuki. Rice farming and wandering abroad seem to be the opposite acts, but what I felt that this was firmly connected was the way of life and life story of Mr. Noriyuki.

    His eldest daughter was born in 1998. Taking this opportunity, Mr. Noriyuki turns his eyes to "safe and secure food for children." From the producer's point of view, how do you get to know safe food and taste the "genuine"?

    Therefore, I came up with the idea of ​​selling rice balls in a mobile sales car. With the cooperation and understanding of his wife (Yuko), the rice ball shop runs through the ground, overcoming the opposition of the surroundings.

    And get the overwhelming support of families with children. The rice balls on the Kayamori farm firmly grasped the children's honest tongue and stomach.

    Mr. Noriyuki, who felt a response, did not stop. In 2002 he entered Tokyo. He established "Den Co., Ltd." in Akasaka. He has appeared on many TV programs including NHK, and has become famous as a "rice cooker" and "rice ball teacher". In the national rice ball shop ranking, he is by far the best. Mr. Hiromitsu Nozaki, the chef of "Waketokuyama", connections with people who are active in various fields, and volunteer activities in the Chuetsu earthquake, "everything is grateful and valuable experience," says Noriyuki.

    His turning point came in 2017. He decided to move the stage from Tokyo to the "Kayamori Farm" itself in Niigata. What a clean decision! Based on the concept of "getting to taste what you really want to offer locally," we will start a new initiative. One of them is the Kamo Agricultural Stay Promotion Council. Enjoy the whole "field" where various things are connected, such as farming experiences and events, delicious food, nature of Kamo, creatures, soil, and air. Imagine it would be an irreplaceable experience.

    Mr. Noriyuki in front of me does not speak loudly about his philosophy. Very simple words such as "safety," "safety," "delicious," and "pleasing customers" come up repeatedly. However, at the root of this, I feel that the gentle perspective symbolized by the phrase "respecting the original vitality of rice" and the sincere feelings for the children who will bear the future are slowly flowing.

    And, vivid determination and ideas like a bold game master. Courage to take a step. I think that the actual experience of "walking around the world when I was young" is alive in "here and now".

    The effects of corona and falling rice prices are also affecting the Kayamori farm. However, Noriyuki hasn't succumbed to it. He is cheerful, "I am pleased to think about new products and methods that are unique."

    Noriyuki's frontier spirit was immortal.
    And even today, the phytic acid-cultivated Koshihikari "Den" has climbed to the dining table nationwide, and is energizing someone's mind, body, and cells.


    Koshihikari from Niigata Prefecture, which took time and effort to cultivate phytic acid