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Delicious fruit from reliable Okabayashi Farm


Okabayashi Farm Corporation


Okabayashi Farm

750 Asoo, Ochi-cho
Takaoka-gun, Kochi, JAPAN 781-1325

Tel 0889-27-2205
Fax 0889-27-2009

Founded: February 2009
Homepage: http://www.buntan-ok.com/

Main Business
-Production, processing, freezing, and sale of agricultural products
-Items: Citrus fruits, juice ingredients, processed fruit products


(Photo: View of Okabayashi Farm--yellow building in the center and its surroundings--and the neighborhood from across the Niyodo River)





Asoo, an inland island in the Niyodo River watershed


The Asoo area

(Photo: The Asoo area with a view of the Niyodo River)




"There are only eight families living in the Asoo area, six of which are farmers. I want to cherish the land where I was born and raised even if I became the last person to live here. In a small mountain village like Asoo, if you want to do something, you can do it," said Fujio Okabayashi, the company's founder and president, with a smile on his face.

The clear waters of the Niyodo River flow near where Okabayashi Farm is located. A well-known submersible bridge where movies have been shot is also nearby. It is truly a beautiful area.

"It used to be like a remote inland island. To cross the river, there was no bridge but a crossing boat," he said. It is difficult to understand what he means, but if you look at the map and see the way the river runs from east to west, snaking across the village, you can understand. The river curves around Asoo on the north side as if the area is a tail coming out of the mountains on its south side. It is just like an island without a bridge. You can imagine why the village has the name Asoo, which means "shallow tail" in Japanese.

Ochi-cho is located in the middle of the Niyodo River watershed. Although the river runs through mountainous areas, the river is quite wide. There is a tunnel on the south side of the village and two bridges to both the east and west sides of the area. But when Okabayashi was a small child, there were no bridges and no tunnel.


Submersible bridge in the Asoo area
Tosa Buntan Citrus from Okabayashi Farm


(Left Photo: Submersible bridge in the Asoo area)


(Right Photo: Tosa Buntan Citrus from Okabayashi Farm)



Keep the local areas alive


President Fujio Okabayashi

Okabayashi was born and raised in Asoo. He dedicated himself to farming and vowed that the family would continue to be farmers. He worked diligently with his father starting in 1976 and later incorporated the farming business in 2009. Commenting about the turning point in his life, changing from being an individual farmer to starting a farming business, he says, "I felt strongly about the way the area could survive. I hated the idea of the area disappearing in the future."

Ochi-cho and other mountainous villages in the upper watershed of the Niyodo River, as well as Asoo village, are depopulating rapidly. But there are still individual farmers there working hard. It used be possible to make a living by farming on an individual basis. Nowadays, it is difficult to pass farming on to the next generation because of the rapid aging of the farming population. Okabayashi wanted to do something about it because he truly loves the land where he grew up.

As soon as he incorporated the business, he visited many farmers in the Niyodo River area and spoke to them about his desire to keep the local villages in existence no matter how small they are. It is not hard to imagine the anxieties each farmer had for the future due to the area's rapid depopulation. His company gained their trust by incorporating, and many farmers agreed to work with him, enabling the business to shift its main activities from direct sale to wholesale.

Okabayashi Farm now works with 150 individual farmers located from Gohoku to Haruno, covering a wide area of the Niyodo River watershed. "I have no idea how big the total dimensions of the farms are. It is different each year, but probably about 28 cho (28 hectares)." It was a silly question to ask but he answered it with a laugh. It was very much like him that he used the old Japanese measuring system.


(Photo: President Fujio Okabayashi)





Products


"Nomu Jelly" and fruits
Okabayashi Farm


Okabayashi Farm makes a range of products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, and processed items for which they have been developing. The original idea for making processed items came from the movement to promote "One village, one product," which started in Oita Prefecture in the 1980s. The Ochi-cho township office and Japan Agricultural Cooperatives jointly started the business to make pickles and marmalades. It did not do well initially.

In the 1990s, opportunities were brought with a change in business. They started to make Buntan Citrus Ice Sorbet in collaboration with a local ice cream manufacturer, and sales gradually grew.


Jelly set

<Jelly Set>
"Konatsukko Jelly" and "Buntan Jelly" contain no additives. Their taste will bring back childhood memories. You can mix and match the jellies to make a set.




Four kinds of syrup

<Syrup>
Our syrups, from left to right: yuzu citrus, buntan citrus, konatsu citrus and ginger. The four syrups, which come in 150ml and 300ml bottles, give a special accent to dishes or can be used as a salad dressing. They also make good blended drinks with shochu, vodka and other types of alcohol.




Various juice drinks

<Juice drink>
Our honey drink is a blend of honey and citrus juice, and features a soft, sweet flavor. The honey is mixed with yuzu citrus, konatsu citrus or buntan citrus, creating three distinctive drinks.
Our beet sugar drink is a blend of beet sugar from Hokkaido and citrus juice squeezed from pesticide-free fruit. There are two kinds: buntan citrus and konatsu citrus.




Other products from Okabayashi Farm are also available for purchase.



We will make Tosa Buntan Citrus known worldwide!


Buntan citrus on tree
Okabayashi Farm with a view of neighborhood


Okabayashi was originally a buntan citrus farmer, but now he handles other citrus such as konatsu, ponkan, yuzu and mandarin oranges. The core of the business is Tosa Buntan Citrus. He cherishes the soil of Asoo and made an enormous effort to grow and process Tosa Buntan Citrus, aiming to be "a buntan professional."

Going beyond the expertise, knowledge and success he has achieved in business, he aims to make original products like no one else can. His love for buntan citrus, which his father had worked hard to cultivate, is very deep. The buntan citrus he grows in the warm climate of the middle of the Niyodo River watershed is completely organic. "They may not look pretty on the outside, but their taste is guaranteed. We don't use any agrichemicals. That is the reason for our catch phrase - Delicious fruits from reliable Okabayashi Farm."

During harvest time, one can see the secret of success of Okabayashi Farm in Okabayashi himself, when he laughed while tasting the buntan citrus his farm had produced. Although ripe, the buntan lacked its trademark sweet taste immediately after being picked. The fruit is matured for about two weeks at an appropriate temperature until each becomes Tosa Buntan Citrus, rich in aroma and sweetness. The fruit is carefully sorted by a staff of experts according to color, size, and skin three times, first when they are harvested, then when they are stored, and again right before shipping.

Okabayashi has even a larger dream.
"Wine farmers in Europe are a part of global culture. Each wine is its own brand in a way. I want to make Tosa Buntan Citrus from Asoo a part of global culture, too. Just like Bordeaux means wine, one day, when people hear of the Niyodo River, it will mean Tosa Buntan Citrus. I want it to be a global name." It is a meaningful dream for the future of Kochi Prefecture as well.


A staff working in the Okabayashi Farm
Workroom in Okabayashi Farm



"Nomu Jelly"


Four types of "Nomu Jelly"

Awarded Local Product Prize of the 28th Local Industry Grand Prize of Kochi Prefecture (2013)

The recent big hit was "Nomu Jelly," jelly you drink out of an a easy-to-carry cup. It is one of a lineup of products made by Okabayashi Farm, including juices and fresh fruits. The ingredients are juices from fruits grown in Kochi, beet sugar from Hokkaido, and agar-agar Japanese vegetable gelatin. All Japanese ingredients. They are proud that none of the products use any additives. There are four flavors: Tosa Buntan, Ginger, Yuzu, and Tomato. Children and adults alike can enjoy the fresh flavor for breakfast and at snack time.





The answers will be found in the future.


Staff and friends of Okabayashi Farm
Okabayashi Farm with a view of neighborhood


(Left Photo: Staff and friends of Okabayashi Farm)


Thirteen staff members are working at Okabayashi Farm as of spring 2014. Almost all of them are in their twenties and the average age is very young. Okabayashi works with Kochi Prefecture in a project to attract young people to work as farmers. Prospective farmers are not limited to those who have degrees in agriculture, but include graduates in economics, business and management, law, and engineering. Okabayashi says, "We need people with a variety of expertise. It is not enough to have only people with agricultural knowledge." He takes a wide view, not only focusing on farming, because his business also functions to cultivate human resources. It has 500 clients throughout Japan.

"Only eight families live in Asoo. It is a very small hamlet, but there are possibilities here that you can not have living in big cities. I don't believe big cities have everything you need. Nowadays, people take inconvenience the wrong way. Mechanical life in big cities is not a humane way of living. I am seeking the humane joy of life here in Asoo," he says joyfully. Lastly, he offers this bit of philosophy about his farm. "Create a space where young people can think by themselves. Create human resources who have thoughts, not academic knowledge. Pass the work on to the next generation. We won't find all of the answers in the short term. They will be found in the future."


The Niyodo River and Asoo submersible bridge
"Nomu Jelly" and fruits


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