November 2, 2023
Hibi Inc. is an organic farm located in Moga mi area, in the northernmost region of Yamagata Prefecture. The cultivation of our heirloom taro root (Jingoemon imo) was inherited from my paternal grandparents of Mamuromawamachi. Ringorillappa was inherited from my maternal grandparents of Shinjo City. Since starting farming over ten years ago, I have practiced sustainable organic cultivation methods that are friendly to the environment. For our Jingoemon imo, I have avoided conventional retail markets, choosing instead to create a new market by selling directly to restaurants and hotels. Our apple orchard obtained JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standards) Organic Certification in 2022. All of our organic apples are used to make apple juice or hard cider, and even apples damaged by insects are put to use, giving added value to our products.
Our farm, Ringorillappa, grows organic apples in Shinjo City, Yamagata Prefecture. Not made for eating, our apples are exclusively grown to produce organic apple juice and hard cider. Acting as a model of sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture, we hope to carve out a new future in the field of apple cultivation. We have introduced several foreign varieties of apples to our orchard in order to produce a more authentic type of hard cider. In addition, our product label was designed by a picture book author popular among young women, making it perfect for mid-year and year-end gifts. Our apple juice is also sold wholesale to famous coffee shops and restaurants in Japan.
The ultimate goal of Ringorillappa is to grow organic apples for the production of our own hard cider. My grandfather started the apple orchard and left it to me when he passed away six years ago. He used to grate apples to make his own hard cider, so it was always my dream to someday do the same. Though we currently outsource most of our cider production, we have been able to manufacture and sell a small amount of it on our own. Allowing the natural yeast on the apples to start the brewing process, we then continue fermentation in barrels to produce authentic hard cider. It is the first organic hard cider made in Japan.
Jingoemon imo is a native heirloom variety of taro root that we have been growing on our farm for over sixty years. My grandmother inherited the seed taro and its cultivation technique from her mother-in-law. Jingoemon imo is said to be a traditional vegetable that has been passed down from the Muromachi era (1336-1573) through countless generations ever since only to the Sato family. The name of the taro comes from the first name of the founder of the Sato family, Jingoemon. We grow our Jingoemon imo without the use of any chemical fertilizers. Its lack of an earthy smell makes it ideal for making sweets or adding to western dishes, so it is often used at traditional Japanese restaurants and critically acclaimed restaurants in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area.