An Omotesando Surprise: The GYRE Building Farmer's Market

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Comfortable Nostalgia in Old Collectibles Antique Market

Comfortable Nostalgia in Old Collectibles Antique Market

An Omotesando Surprise: The GYRE Building Farmer's Market

Tokyo’s Omotesando district has long been one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. I've spent many afternoons wandering the peaceful grounds of the Meiji Shrine, watching trendy teenagers dressed in the latest fashions shop in Takeshita Street, or peering in the windows of the luxury brand shops on Omotesando boulevard.


Farmer's Market @ GYRE


Farmer's Market @ GYRE
Address: B1 GYRE Buiding., 5-10-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

One thing I've never done in Omotesando, though, is shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at a farmer's market. In fact, until I made a recent visit to a farmer’s market in the basement of Omotesando's GYRE building, I had no idea such markets existed in central Tokyo.

In the basement of the GYRE building, I was delighted to discover a vibrant farmer’s market in full swing. In the building’s bright atrium, merchants had set up small stalls to sell fresh fruits, vegetables, cookies, cakes, flowers and seasonings from across Japan. Customers were strolling from stall to stall, talking to the shopkeepers about what was for sale.

The GYRE building hosts this farmer’s market twice a month. It’s a smaller version of a similar market held every weekend in front of the United Nations University in the nearby Aoyama neighborhood. Both of them are hold by the same sponsor in other place.


Farmer's Market @ GYRE

When I visited the market in early June, it was cucumber season, so several stalls in the were selling fresh crunchy cucumbers from Kanagawa prefecture. Merchants were also selling carrots, eggplants, corn on the cob, baby tomatoes, and lemons. One stall was selling potted plants. Next to it, a smiling woman ran a stall offering fresh flowers from the Aizu region of Fukushima. One stall was even offering free samples of ratatouille made with fresh vegetables from Miyazaki prefecture, in the south of Japan.


Farmer's Market @ GYRE

At the market, I spoke to a friendly woman who was staffing a stall selling fruits, vegetables, noodles and spices. Her name was Ms Fujimura, and she told me that many farmers who sell their produce at the market also take orders on the internet. While internet orders are efficient, the farmer’s market gives customers a chance to meet vendors in person and to learn about the farm produce on offer. It’s not only a way for farmers to sell their fruits and vegetables but also a chance for them to connect face-to-face with their urban customers.

Since so many people live in urban areas in Japan, far from where their food is produced, the farmer’s market organizers see the markets as an opportunity to help strengthen connections between farmers and people in cities, to support farmers, and to make fresh healthy food available to as many people as possible. As I wandered around the market, listening to customers chat with vendors and admiring the brightly colored displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, it seemed to me that the organizers’ plans were succeeding.


Farmer's Market @ GYRE

Farmer's Market @ GYRE
I lingered at the market for a long time, chatting with friendly merchants and taking in the beautiful displays of fresh farm produce, much of it grown with as few agricultural chemicals as possible. Although I was fond of Omotesando before I discovered this farmer’s market, after my visit to the GYRE building I love the neighborhood more than ever. I’m sure I’ll be back.

 

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