Season : June〜November
Acerola fruits that are red like cherries.
It was over that 25 years ago that Mr Masao Ito got the idea of cultivating acerola in Watari. When he heard that a relative was going to Brazil, he asked if there were any good crops there, and that relative brought back acerola for him as a souvenir. After much trial and error, he managed to expand his acerola cultivation and production also stabilized. However, in March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake struck, causing devastating damage to Mr Ito’s acerola farm.
The acerola plants are grown in the warm conditions of greenhouses.
Tsunami waves of over 2m high hit Mr Ito’s farm, which was only 300m away from the Tori no Umi Bay. Seeing his greenhouses damaged by the tsunami waves, and the seedlings all withered, Mr Ito made the decision to stop farming. However, upon entering the acerola greenhouses again after 2 months, he noticed new sprouts coming out from the withered seedlings. Seeing the vitality of these plants, Mr Ito was motivated to try again once more.
Mr Ito, taking care of his acerola plants as if they were his own children.
People usually know acerola as a fruit with 10-30 times as much vitamin C as a lemon, and usually eaten processed. Mr Ito’s farm also produces various processed foods with acerola like fruit vinegars and jams, but it also sells the raw fruit for consumption. He has been selling packs of the raw fruit wholesale at direct-selling facilities for many years, and eating acerola raw has become normal in the area. The fruit has a cherry-like texture, and is less sour than lemons, making it easy to eat.
Processed acerola products made by Mr Ito. Many customers buy them regularly.
Starting from a few sprouting saplings after the earthquake, Mr Ito’s acerola farm has now been restored to over 70% of its original state before the disaster. Mr Ito, who is the only acerola farmer in Eastern Japan, wants to continue marketing the superfood acerola to the rest of the country. With the fervent wish that people can know more about Watari’s revitalization efforts and rich land through his acerola, Mr Ito continues to be devoted in his acerola farming daily.
※Harvest times for acerola occur three times a year: June to early July, early to late August, and October to early November