The Business Of Tangerine Picking in Japan

in ReggaeJAHM8 days ago

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Living in Japan, a popular thing to do is fruit picking. I was mostly aware of strawberry picking and have heard of apples but I had no idea tangerine picking was a thing here. In Japan, tangerines are called Mikan (みかん) and literally translates to orange. But we from the islands know better than to call these oranges.

About a week ago, we went with another family to the hills of Kanto to a town called Shibukawa in Gunma. What always interests me about these fruit picking activities besides the eats is the business model behind it.

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The Business Model

On entry, each person is given a basket, a pair of scissors and a small plastic bag. You can eat as much as you want as you stroll the hilly terrain, for as long as you want. But each person can only leave with the small plastic bag full of tangerine and no more.

This type of business model works well in an orderly society as everyone will stick to the rules. Talking to my mom about this place and if the model would work in Jamaica, we both had a good laugh saying how one family would strip the entire farm. 😆. Not entirely true but in general that is what one would have to prepare for if doing a venture like this in the islands.

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Interestingly I told a friend about the tangerine picking and he said he knew someone that was in the business. I was told that these farms make an insane amount of money from the tangerine picking gig, maybe even more than they do selling wholesale to supermarkets. A decent size farm can bring in 10,000,000 yen ( roughly $90,000) a year easily. For 3 months of the year, from November - January, it is none stop work with no days off while the mikan are in season. After that, it is a cool down period until next season and minimal care is needed for the tangerine plants compared to more delicate crops such as strawberries.

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On the hill where we went picking, there were a number of different farms presumably owned by different people and they were all packed with people going in and out. The car parks were filled. And to better their system they even made the hill a one way in, one way out to ease the flow of traffic.
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As you can see this is an activity one can enjoy with the entire family. You can also see that one tangerine tree has a lot of fruit. Based on the hilly terrain and the countryside location, I presume the land isn't expensive either.

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When one thinks of business, a tangerine picking farm is probably the last thing on most peoples' mind. It certainly was for me. It is a more natural kind of business that has no processing of raw materials. On the other hand, it takes a lot of land and physical labour but the lifestyle seems so IRIE. Are there any farms like this on your corner of the world?

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Fruit picking and eating is a great activity the whole family can enjoy in Japan. We try to go fruit picking whenever fruits are in season. The kids love it and so does my wife.

 7 days ago 

It’s one of the best things to do here with the fam. I wonder what’s next in season?

Those trees are really full yes and don't think there are farms/businesses like these in Suriname, where you can pick your own fruit. On the other hand there are still plantations/famrs specialized in tangerines, oranges and the sorts. Especially where my mom's family's from; Laarwijk. We used to pick rice bags full of those citrussy fruits back in the day.

 7 days ago 

There was no such picking farms in Jamaica either. It seems to be a big business here though, interesting model too.

I'd love to see someone try this in the Caribbean. What do they call these in Suriname?

It looks like a citrus type we call Mandarin here or is it Tangeloo Google "says" Tangerine and Mandarin are the same 😅, but I should really learn the different citrus types.

 4 days ago 

Tangeloo sounds nice!

Well, here it translates to orange so I guess citrus is the safest 😆.

I just remembered one called outeniqua. Haven't heard that word in decades LOL!

...outeniqua.

Oh... should really look that one up.
LOL, yeah the safest for me is to group them 😅.

When I was a kid in the US, there was an apple orchard fairly close to us that used this model. At the time it worked well and was fairly lucrative for them. But several years ago they had to stop offering that service because of the things you mention. People ruin everything.

I always enjoy this part of Japan!

 4 days ago 

Trust me, I'd love to start a farm like this in the islands but it would never work. I really admire the peace and orderly nature of Japanese culture. Reminds me of how things used to be.

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