U-turn back home from abroad with her Kiwi partner Their peach smoothies promote Yamanashi’s fruit
Fuefuki City is known as the largest producer of peaches in Japan. Each farmer works hard to improve the cultivation and sales techniques and delivers delicious fruit all across Japan.
In this article, we’re going to introduce “Morita Farm”, which is a small family run farm. Emi, who was born and raised as a farmer’s daughter, moved overseas but took a U-turn back home and started working in the farming industry. Emi and Matt took an interest in “food truck business” before others and started selling peach based smoothies made with peaches harvested at their farm in Yamanashi.
Emi & Matt
Emi and Matt lived in Australia for four years after they married, and they then moved back to Fuefuki City together. Emi wants to protect and preserve her grandfather’s peach farm, and Matt wants more tourists from overseas to know the deliciousness of Fuefuki’s peaches. They make and sell peach based smoothies using peaches from their own farm in their white and pink food truck at different locations. They’re very popular at events held in Kanagawa and Tokyo.
Experience of living overseas made her realize how delicious Fuefuki’s peaches are.
Yamanashi Prefecture is well known for its peaches, and Fuefuki City, where “Morita Farm” is located, has the largest amount of peach production out of all the cities in Yamanashi. Morita Farm has been cultivating peaches exclusively since 1948, and it’s been passed down as a family run farm through generations. They cover everything by themselves from production to sales, as well as promotion of their produce/products through social media.
Emi, who is also a member of “Nougyou-Joshi Project (Female Farmers Project)” started by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, moved back to her hometown from Australia five years ago and started working in the farming industry. We asked her the reasons why she decided to take a U-turn back home after moving overseas.
“When I lived in Australia, I missed having Fuefuki’s peaches, which was something just ordinary that I’d had eaten every year back home. But because I moved overseas, that experience made me realize how great Fuefuki City’s peaches are. While living overseas, I couldn’t find peaches like Japanese ones that have the same level of quality as in the sweetness, the aroma and the appearance.”
The peach farm of Emi’s family is something her grandfather established.
“People are talking about this problem today’s farmers face across Japan when it comes to finding successors and for us it’s not just someone else’s problem. I felt sad when I thought that if my grandparents become too old to work at their peach farm, they might have to close the farm... With my husband’s understanding and support, we decided to move back to Japan and help with my family’s farm. I was excited but anxious at the same time.”
The hint her Kiwi husband gave her led to the new business idea
One of the problems peach farmers face is that there are a large amount of peaches that are not fit for selling.
“We can’t sell those peaches with even small bruises or those ones that are overripe because they were harvested late. I thought that’s such a waste. But those ones that are harvested late actually taste so delicious because they ripen on the trees. I always thought I wanted to do something about it, even before coming back to Japan.”
It was Emi’s husband Matt from New Zealand, who gave her an idea to resolve the problem.
“Smoothies are a popular drink overseas and my husband also loves them. It was what my husband said to me that gave me an idea for our business. He said ‘You can make really delicious smoothies with your family’s peaches.’”
From there, Emi and Matt started to plan their new business. The reason why they chose to sell their smoothies in a food truck is because they wanted as many people as possible to know the deliciousness of Fuefuki City’s peaches.
Decadent smoothies that only peach farmers can bring out
The positive of selling peaches in the form of smoothies is that it’s something simple and easy for anyone to have.
“Lately I’ve felt that there are more and more people who don’t buy fruit. I think that’s because they’re not used to eating fruit and they might not know how delicous they are. In fact, since we started selling smoothies in our food truck, there’s an increasing number of people who buy our peaches after finding out about us.”
When Emi and Matt started this food truck business five years ago, they were initially selling their peaches in their food truck as well. They’ve had many foreign customers since then who were impressed with the big size and the sweetness of their peaches.
Their food truck debut was at “Togenkyo Festival” held in Fuefuki City. Food truck business was still rare back then but it’s become popular these days. However Morita Farm stands out. They’ve become popular not only in Yamanashi but also in other prefectures at food events such as “Yokohama Kitanaka Marche” in Kanagawa and “Taiyo no Marche” in Tokyo, where they have many different kinds of unique food.
“Other smoothie places often use bananas as a base to add sweetness but we don’t use bananas in our smoothies. Since we’re peach farmers, many of the smoothies we develop are peach-based.”
Their most popular smoothie is “Peach Smoothie”, which uses the whole peach. It has a fresh natural peach aroma and gentle sweetness…
The fact that they have lots of customers come up and say “Can I have another one please?” after having their “Peach Smoothie” shows how satisfyingly delicious their smoothies are.
Deliver the deliciousness of Yamanashi’s fruit to the public in their food truck
They put up information about their new smoothies and their food truck’s locations on their Instagram and Facebook pages. Then they find quite a few customers who travel so far to visit their food truck saying “I wanted to try this”.
“We originally started this food truck business because we wanted to deliver the taste of Yamanashi’s delicious peaches to the public. It makes me so happy to find that there are customers who actually visit our food truck after finding us on the Internet. Also it is another positive of food truck business to be able to sell our products face to face to the customers. My husband often gets spoken to by customers.”
At the end of the interview, we asked Matt about his life in Fuefuki City.
“Yamanashi’s landscape looks a bit similar to New Zealand’s, like there are lots of mountains. Vegetables and fruit here are so delicious and people are friendly. Sometimes my neighbors say hi to me when they see me jogging in the mornings. I want more tourists from overseas to know great things about Yamanashi and Yamanashi’s peaches.”
A simple and easy way of having Yamanashi’s delicious fruit in your everyday life. If you find the white and pink food truck, why not try their exceptionally fruity smoothies that only Morita Farm can bring out?
＼Let's go see Matt and Emi／
Store： Morita Farm
Please see the link below for Food Truck schedule.