Ishioka City has a flourishing agricultural industry, and is particularly famous for its fruit orchards. Like many orchards in Japan, Adachi Orchard in the Yasato area of Ishioka is family run. Mr. Adachi graciously allowed us to enter his orchards and pick a few Asian pears, which he sliced up for us to eat on the spot. The trees are inside a netted area to keep bugs away. A wire roof stretches over them, forcing them to grow outward rather than upward, making it easier to harvest the fruit. In a second orchard with a higher roof, however, Mr. Adachi has planted a number of trees in rows and is allowing them to grow upward. He keeps adding rows of trees on the outside as the inner rows grow. He told us that he does not know any other growers who are using this technique.
According to Mr. Adachi, the Asian pear trees were planted by his parents, who used to use the land to grow tobacco. In fact, Yasato is one of Ibaraki’s tobacco-growing areas.
Several types of Asian pear are grown at Adachi Orchard, including the popular Housui and Kousui varieties. Kousui pears ripen earlier and can be harvested from mid to late August. They are softer, juicier, and sweeter than many other varieties, but do not last for as long so need to eaten soon after harvesting. Housui pears are also sweet, but have a tartness that balances the flavour, giving them their distinct rich taste. They are slightly larger than Kousui pears, and while also very juicy, they last longer. Some of the trees in Adachi Orchard are spliced with cuttings from other trees, allowing more than one variety to grow on a single tree.
I was surprised by how easy it was to pick the pears from the tree – all you had to do was twist the fruit slightly and tilt it upward, and it would break away from the branch.
Adachi Orchard sells its fruit directly. They sort the fruit by weight using a machine.
If you are interested in fruit picking in the Yasato area, contact the Yasato Kankō Kajuen Kumiai (0299-43-1111).