June in Japan: spring turns to summer. The winter wheat turns golden and bows under the weight of the plump heads of grain. The harvested fields are replaced by new-grass-green rice seedlings. The glorious pink azaeleas spill their blossoms onto the pavement below shopfront window boxes. Ajisai (hydrangea), possibly my favorite Japanese blossom, unfurls it’s cheerful pom-poms of color. And welcome too to the rainy season. Everywhere there is color along the ground, but the sky is mostly grey.
The bounty of early summer provides a much needed contrast to June’s drizzly grey skies. In June we say goodbye to the last of the spring vegetables and welcome the early fruits of summer. So what’s in season now? Here’s a sampling of what I bought on the first weekend of June. Almost everything was grown in the city of Maebashi or in Gunma prefecture (except for the citrus, which is from Wakayama prefecture, and the biwa (loquats) from Nagasaki).
Spring fruits and vegetables:
gyouja ninniku (I think these are ramps)
By last weekend, the citrus and strawberries were finished but the cherries, melons, and eggplants have come into season now. I’ve especially been enjoying delicious watermelons from Ota city in Gunma. I also have some onions, carrots, new potatoes, and daikon that I harvested from the Kobayashi’s organic garden at the sweet potato farm that I’m looking forward to.