Friday, July 1, 2016

Get in touch with Kochi’s Natural Side at “Nishijima Horticultural Park”

They’re even more delicious
when you pick them yourself!
Surrounded by Flowers and Fruits…
   Stepping into this Horticultural Park is like finding yourself in paradise—you are surrounded by tropical plants and have access to fruits like watermelons and Japanese melons year-round. This time, we tried our hand at strawberry picking! There is no time limit, and it’s all-you-caneat. The strawberries we picked ourselves and ate on the spot were very delicious. It’s so popular that you have to go early in the day before they run out. Sadly, this year’s season is over, but Nishijima has many other attractions that we will introduce below.

A Commitment to Safe Agriculture

Popular salad dressings made
from fruit and no additives.
   We caught a glimpse of some of the techniques Nishijima uses to grow safe and delicious products. Their watermelons and other melons are grown one per plant, so that the plant’s nutrients are all put into the one fruit. Their mangos are grown in small pots to prevent their roots from expanding needlessly in the earth. This restricts their water intake, causing the plants to reserve extra nutrients, condensing the sweetness of their fruit. We thought this trait was very similar to humans! The quality of their products is first-rate because they conduct all processes, from sorting to shipping, in-house.
   In order to grow safe fruit, they spray as little pesticide as possible and use beneficial insects that eat pests.
Overseas Visitors Almost Every Day!
   It seems like every day there is some tourist group that comes to Nishijima, so they have English and Chinese (traditional) pamphlets at the front desk. If you call in advance, you can get a tour of the fruit greenhouses (only in Japanese).
45 Years of History
   This area was originally made up of a bunch of individual cucumber and green pepper growers. Nine of them aspired to work together and create this park. They started growing watermelons and other melons, which Kochi Prefecture grows a lot of, to further increase customers. They’ve had troubles in the past, like being flooded from the Kokubu River, but they’ve continued to this day. Now there are even some second generation farmers carrying on the family business, creating new processed goods from the farm’s fruit, and striving for an ever-better customer experience.
Vivid bougainvillea flowers greeted us.
Event Information
• Apple Mango Fair (Planned for July – Mid August) … Pancakes, gelato, etc. at the café!
• Blueberry picking (June – July) …not famous, but good!
Reservations recommended.
Nishijima Horticultural Park ——————————
   Address: 600 Hataeda, Nankoku City
   Business Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM (no closed days)
   Directions: 25 minutes by car from JR Kochi Station

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