Echigo Farm is an 18 acre organic farm located just west of Seymour, MO, about 20 miles east of Springfield, in the middle of an Amish community. Our farm features 4 acres of no-till beds dedicated to Japanese vegetables and other produce and two 30’x 96’ high tunnels. Echigo Farm is owned and operated by husband and wife team Mark Frank and Kumiko Nagai, and assisted by our two young children.
Throughout the year, we grow over 90 different varieties of traditional Japanese and other Asian vegetables, including edamame, daikon radish, turnips, beans, Japanese momotaro tomatoes, okra, mustard greens, komatsuna, mizuna, salad greens, herbs, eggplant, edible burdock, Kyoto carrots, black and white sesame, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, fava beans and more.
Edamame is one of our main crops. We usually dedicate between one and two acres to our edamame crop each year, growing up to 18 different authentic Japanese varieties. Every season, we are studying and experimenting with different cultivation and production techniques in an effort to find what best fits the fickle Ozarks climate, but we feel edamame is a good match for Missouri. We grow our edamame in the correct traditional way; that is, not as a field crop but as a vegetable crop. Our edamame is watered with drip irrigation and carefully harvested by hand to insure the highest quality and nutrition, and the best balance of amino acids and sugars that give edamame its uniquely sweet and nutty taste. We work directly with growers and farmers in Japan to locate the best and most delicious varieties possible.
We are currently building an inspected kitchen facility on the farm. This facility will allow us to process our produce (frozen vegetables) and produce traditional fermented Asian foods for sale. We hope to start producing 100% local kimchi, natto, miso, and soy sauce in the near future.
Besides our produce, we want the farm itself to become a destination, particularly for individuals and families who want to experience different food cultures, learn about new ways of healthy cooking and eating, or just want to experience a day on a small-scale, diverse farm. We are planning to hold several field-to-table events at the farm where participants can come to the farm, help in harvesting or processing a food, and then share the results in an informal meal. We are also starting a CSA for the 2012 season.
We started growing edamame and other Japanese produce in the Ozarks in 2009, and we moved to our current place in the fall of 2010. We became interested in small-scale farming and organic agriculture in Japan. We met in 1997 in Niigata, one of the main rice and sake producing areas of northern Japan. After marrying in 1999, we moved to a small town at the foot of the snowy mountains where we began part-time farming, sake making in the winter, and making traditional fermented foods. Farming (and eating!) in rural Japan was a great experience. We really loved the efficiency and beauty of Japanese small-scale food production techniques, as well as the Japanese ideas of locality and seasonality. Combined, these offer a bountiful feast in every season. In Japan we found a wonderful sense of anticipation, with a feeling of 'here and now,' which made every meal, every mouthful of food unique and special, deeply meaningful and unforgettable. While in Japan, we became acquainted with the work of Masanobu Fukuoka ('The One Straw Revolution'). His ideas have also influenced our approach to farming.
When we moved back to the U.S. in 2009, we knew that we wanted to farm and to introduce Japanese local food culture to the U.S. Our approach to our farm is to implement small-scale intensive and natural Japanese farming practices to the Ozarks, aiming for a sustainable, healthy blend of both cultures.
You can find Echigo Farm's products at these locations in the Springfield, MO area:
Farmers Market of the Ozarks
Mama Jean's Natural Market (all three locations)
We also welcome direct sales inquiries. We are interested in establishing restaurant contacts, as well as in providing fresh produce for cultural events and festivals. Please contact us with any questions or requests.