The green fruits, about five centimeters in diameter, are held securely in the hands and one by one they are separated from the tree with scissors. A small group of women are covered from head to toe in monpe, a kind of Japanese traditional work clothes, to avoid getting sunburned while still under the hot October sun. Then, they are picking the green fruits. The green fruits are placed one by one into yellow plastic boxes to prevent them from being damaged.
“It is hot these days, even in October,” Shizu Morioka, a 72-year-old woman said. Half of the harvest was done, and it was time for a lunch break. While eating rice balls that she had made from home. “I used to harvest earlier, but with recent temperatures, it might have been better to harvest a week later,” she added. “I’m not so sure.”
Shizu is a farmer living in Sukumo City, Kochi Prefecture. She grows green fruit called Naoshichi. Naoshichi is a type of aromatic citrus. Aromatic citrus is a fruit that is enjoyed for not only its taste and its aroma of the squeezed juice and peel. It is grown mainly for private use in the Hata district in southwestern Kochi, especially in Sukumo City. In Kochi, citrus fruits are called “Sumikan.” It means “vinegared tangerines.” Its squeezed juice is often used for food instead of vinegar. Why do Kochi people grow Sumikan? It is said that Shikoku, including Kochi is in the perfect temperature zone for growing citrus fruits. Particularly, temperature of Kochi is suitable for growing aromatic citrus.
According to SansanTV news, on October 7th, 2022, an event was held in Sukumo City to promote aroma oil made from the peels of Naoshichi. October 7th is the day of Naoshichi. It is because October is the month in which the Naoshichi harvest beginnings, and Nao “shichi” means seven in Japanese. In this event, a company called “@aroma” demonstrated a mobile distilling device set up in front of the Sukumo City Hall. Only a few grams of aromatic oil are refined from 80 kilograms of Naoshichi peels.
Naosichi was found in Takuma, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture. Its official name is Takuma Sudachi. Now it is not cultivated in Hiroshima Prefecture. This unique name come from Naoshichi, a fishmonger. He recommended it is tasty when poured over fish. He must have known that the aroma of Naoshichi would enhance the flavor of the dish.
According to Kochi Shinbun news, at first, Naoshichi farmers in Sukumo City planted it in their own house. In 2009, a production cooperative was established. The purpose was to create a specialty product of Sukumo City and to encourage the primary industry. In the beginning, however, there were only four farmers who grew and sold Naoshichi. Therefore, the union staff had to collect the fruit from the Naoshichi trees in their own gardens for harvesting. “This was very difficult.” Mr. Mimatu, a president of Naoshichi-Seisan company said. From 2015, Sukumo city began to expand production. They provided 3,500 tree saplings per year for free to those who wanted to grow Naoshichi. As a result of these efforts over the next five years, the number of Naoshichi farmers increased and the number of fruit trees grew to about 35,000 in Kochi. The annual harvest has also increased from around 0.5 tons in 2009 to around 300 tons by 2020.
“Many people’s efforts have made Naoshichi what it is today,” Shizu said. “I am just one of them. I am old and physically weak, and I am tired of too hot summer in Kochi. It is very hard during the harvest season. But now Naoshichi is becoming famous. I cannot stop growing here. My daughter and granddaughter will help me. So, I hope a lot of people will love Naoshichi for a long time.”
「キラキラ輝く素敵な香り」 宿毛の“直七アロマ”をPR 【高知】 « プライムこうち – 高知さんテレビ (sunsuntv.co.jp)
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I’ve never heard “Naoshichi” before, but I wanna try it.
I’ve never eaten naoshichi before. So, I want to try it !
Wow…I’m going to start drooling. I want to squeeze Naoshichi on delicious fish in Kochi right now! And it was nice to know the history of the famous fruit in this prefecture. Thank you:)
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I like fruits, but I’ve never heard a fruit named “Naoshichi” before, so I wanna try it when it’s in season.
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