Yatabe Bunching Onion

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Yatabe Bunching Onion

Yatabenegi

Yatabenegi have been cultivated in the area around the city of Obama (Fukui Prefecture) on the island of Honshu since the beginning of the Meiji Period (end of the 19th century) and belong to the species Allium fistulosum L. (winter onion). The Yatabenegi germplasm is preserved at the Research Institute for Agricultural, Fish and Forestry Resources of the Fukui Prefecture. Its distinctive properties are its sweet flavor and curved shape where it is buried in the earth, both of which are due to the traditional method of cultivation and characteristics of the soil (alkaline sand with good drainage). During the traditional growing cycle, Yatabenegi are transplanted twice: they are sown in nurseries  small greenhouses heated naturally by sunlight) and then transplanted into an open field in spring. From May to September they can be harvested and used for flavoring and seasoning, but it is preferable to transplant them a second time and plant them at an angle. The part of the plant in the ground then bends, becoming soft and sweet. Harvesting in this case can be extended from October to April, but the period of highest availability is from December to February, a period when a soft, viscous and very tasty substance forms inside the white part of the root, now curved like a hook. In the traditional cuisine of the area, Yatabenegi are consumed both raw and cooked. The specialty of the Obama area (famous for mackerel, traditionally sold on Kyoto markets) is nuta of negi (winter onion) and mackerel, a marinade of miso (a condiment made from yellow soy seeds of Japanese origin) and vinegar. Yatabenegi are also an essential ingredient of nabemono (a dish cooked in an earthenware pot) and sukiyaki (a dish based on beef). Production is falling sharply: there are very few farmers continuing to grow this vegetable and they are aging; furthermore the growing cycle is very long and delicate.  The municipality of Obama is trying to encourage cultivation by supporting a cooperative of producers, but it is very difficult to involve young people in the activity. Yatabenegi traditional production area is the village of Yatabe in the area of Kuchinada, Obama, Fukui Prefecture, on the island of Honshu.

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Territory

StateJapan
Region

Chubu