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The perks of farm life

We have finished bagging all our peaches, now its a waiting game for the sun to plump up our fruit ready for around mid July.

After every stage of production, it's tradition to have a small party to congratulate all for their hard work. In different places I've lived, a party is when you end up sleeping in a park with cuts and bruises all over your body then waking up deciding that milk will make you feel better,remember it's always a bad choice.

The party means our farm owner Fukuo decided on the menu, which mean his ultimate favourites, A bucket of KFC, 500g of raw slices horsemeat, a huge array of the finest sashimi on offer and plenty of homegrown vegetables. To top it off he had brought over an assortment of his homemade drinks, which really excited me.

Fukuo is the proud 89-year-old owner of Morita Farm; he works everyday on his farm, enjoys a drink every night and speaks his Koshu-ben Dialect, which I can't understand much of. He has lived in the same area all his life apart from when he was based up in Northern Japan during the War times.

Originally the farm was a silk farm dating back to the late 1800's when his Grandparents ran it, however after the war, the silk demands tapered off and he decided the only crop that he could make a living off was peaches. He was the first peach farmer in the region, with probably the best land to grow them on.

Back to the drinks that night, he had made his own Umeshu (Japanese plum wine). You can enjoy it from any convenience store in Japan 24 hours a day. The taste was out this world especially when you get to bite into whole alcohol soaked plums, which really hit the spot.

The next day I was really interested the production process of this drink and Fukuo was happy to show me how it’s done. We had no large plums so instead we used a smaller variety called Niwa-Ume, they are a bit sour and not commonly used, but if your after a more sour unique taste they are the way to go.

You will then need a large, wide mouth clean non-metallic jar with a tight lid. Then depending on the jar size and amount of fruit added, enough Shochu after the plums are added to fill up to ¾ of the jar. We used 2 litres of Shochu.

Make sure you have washed and got rid of the stems of the plums, then throw them into the jar, add rock sugar depending on your taste around 300grams (as we wanted a sour taste), then add the Shochu to the 3/4 mark of the Jar.

So we used the following ingredients,

-1.2 kgs of fruit

- 300 grams of rock sugar

- 2 litres of Shochu

Make sure the lid is tight and stored in a cool dark place; we put it under the house, so when my brother visits he wont be slithering around looking in cupboards for things to steal. It's best to leave your potion for minimum 1 month before you enjoy it, it’s recommended to leave for three though.

We are going to make some apricot and peach alcohol in the coming weeks. Friends can keep this in mind if they are thinking about visiting us in Yamanashi


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