We read with interest Martin's February 19th post on "Kurashi - News from Japan" about Oisix - an organic food retailer - we checked out their website (here: Oisix), placed an order for one of their sampler boxes, and scheduled the delivery. (Thanks for that post, Martin.) This morning our box of food arrived at our door, right on time, and chilled (what a country!).
A typical sampler box from Oisix
Our sampler shipment included an orange, 2 carrots, komatsuna (mustard spinach), a bunch of naganegi (small Japanese leek), celery, dashi, lotus root, Bunashimeiji mushrooms, six eggs, four serving sized packages of tofu, 500 ml - about half a quart - of milk (K will drink that), and 200 grams - .44 pounds - of pork (which we gave to K's parents). All organic of course, domestically grown, and we're very impressed with the freshness and high quality.
Readers in Japan certainly are aware of the recent scare caused by gyoza (pork filled dumplings) imported from China which were tainted with the toxic pesticide methamidophos that made several people ill in Japan. In the USA recently, a slaughter house which provides meat for federal school lunch programs in 36 states caused a record recall of 143,000 pounds of beef, due to video evidence that it used "downer" cattle, which may be suffering from BSE (certain to be spun as "why worry, be happy"). Such stories, and the contamination of vegetables by animal wastes from factory farms, are all too common today. Combined with the need to cut down on fossil fuel use (shipping, chemical fertilizers, pesticides) due to resource depletion and climate change, as well as the now well documented superior nutrition offered by organic produce, it makes sense to buy locally grown organic foods whenever possible.
In my opinion, cost should not be the number one priority when you are talking about something you are going to eat. In fact, the costs of non-organically grown produce are there, but simply hidden in things like soil depletion, water contamination, CO2 emissions, possible long term medical costs, etc. Some of the items offered by Oisix and other organic foods retailers are, I admit, too much for my budget, but I will certainly buy those that I can afford. Since Japan only produces about 40% of its food, we do buy things imported (mostly grains from the US such as whole oats and wheat, and bananas from the Philippines), but I buy from local sources when possible. Our rice and many veggies come from family owned land. China? Are you kidding? Momo's dog house came from there, but food? No way! (If you're curious, Momo's dinner food comes from Japan and her breakfast from Australia).
DokiDoki is Yummy Yummy). Oisix offers a wide variety - they even offer fish, breads, cheeses and ale - and I am very happy to have a reliable source for organic foods delivered right to my door (which is far more efficient than us driving around by car).
By the way, the "Oi" in Oisix is pronounced as it is in the word "oishii" - Japanese for delicious.
If you live in Japan, why not give them a try? And if you live elsewhere in the world, check out what similar services are available in your area. I've read of similar co-ops and retailers in cities in England, Canada, and the USA, so I'm sure there are many, many areas covered. The more we support local and organic farmers, the more their industry will grow and the more available such products will become. Bon Appétit, bonne santé! Healthy eating.