Shimanto chestnuts–a story of sustainability and revitalization
Blessed with long hours of sunlight and large differences between day and night temperatures, the Shimanto River area produces some very fine chestnuts–an autumn favorite in Japan!
Shimanto chestnuts are generally bigger and sweeter than other varieties. It certainly doesn’t happen all the time but the largest-recorded Shimanto chestnut to date was 79 grams, which is massive compared to the average weight of 20 grams among standard market varieties! Furthermore, their high level of natural sweetness requires less sugar when making delicious confections, which helps showcase the chestnut’s organic flavors
Ochakuri Cafe (@Shimantoおちゃくりcafé) located right along the Shimanto River offers a range of delectable chestnut desserts, among which the creamy Mont Blanc is my personal favorite. What’s more, behind the delicious Shimanto chestnuts is a beautiful story revolving around sustainability and regional revitalization
Despite its long history in the region, chestnut farming has been in decline due to the aging population and lack of young workers available to take on the business. However, the CEO of Shimanto Drama (company that runs Ochakuri Cafe) found a blessing-in-disguise opportunity for starting new projects to create and plant highly-selected chestnuts on unused or abandoned farmland without using any chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which helped increase brand awareness through collaborations with chestnut farmers. Today, the company continues to operate on the foundational value of producing high-quality ingredients with the least amount of environmental impact on the Shimanto River. Thanks to the effective brand-building and revitalization efforts of the Shimanto Drama team, chestnut farming is attracting greater demand as well as newcomers to help with the arduous work. The future of Shimanto chestnuts is looking bright once again
So, when you come across chestnut treats on your next visit to the Shimanto area, remember to not only savor its deep taste, but also appreciate this gift from earth that’s been grown, processed and served with immense consideration for the local environment and community