Season : October〜December
Pictured above are Fuji apples. The Fuji apples of Watari Town have a high level of sorbitol in them, giving them a juicy and rich sweetness. Some varieties do not contain sorbitol.
The apples of Watari Town, sometimes called a hidden local specialty, have a history of being cultivated for over 90 years. Watari Town is located along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the south of Miyagi Prefecture, making it relatively warmer than the rest of the Tohoku region due to its marine climate. This allows sweet and flavorful apples that are fully ripened to be harvested from the apple trees in Watari, earning them good reviews.
The apples of Watari Town that are carefully cultivated by the apple farmers.
In Watari Town, one of the most prominent apple-producing regions in Miyagi Prefecture, apples are mainly grown in 3 different hilly areas: Okuma, Watari and Yoshida. The number of apple farmers fell for a period of time during the Pacific War, but the apple industry revived in 1950 and is thriving to this day. Currently, there are more than 40 apple farms, and the number of apples produced is not a small sum, but hardly any of these apples are sold in the market. This is because most of the apples produced in Watari are all sold through direct selling from the farmers to the consumers. Due to this, these apples are nicknamed “phantom apples”, and are said to be the hidden local specialty of Watari that are only known to insiders.
The Fuji apples, which are only picked off the trees after they have fully ripened, are especially sweet.
In Watari Town, apple harvesting starts in September from the varieties which mature earlier, and moves on to the harvesting of the main star, Fuji apples, in late November. There is no time to rest during this period as different varieties of apples, from the early-maturing to the late-maturing, are harvested and sold, and most of these apples are sold out within the year. Many consumers comment that the apples of Watari are juicy and sweet, and this is because the apple farmers make sure that the apples are completely ripe before they are picked and sold. On the weekends in December, which is the harvesting period for Fuji apples, many regular customers flock to the various apple farms to buy apples. To the consumers, being able to hear what the farmers have to say about their apples before buying them directly may just be one of the perks of doing this.