Karuizawa’s New Apple Farm Opens in Collaboration With Hoshino Resorts and Local Farmers

08.April.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

The Karuizawa-based hotel and hot spring complex Hoshino Onsen Tombo-no-yu joined hands with local apple farmers last year to help support apple cultivation for their apple hot springs. This is now being taken to the next level with the opening of Ringo Tsuchi, an apple farm that Tombo-no-yu staff helped to build. The farm opened on March 19, and locals will be able to visit part of the farm for free starting on April 26.

The project ties in with the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative, specifically the 12th goal: “Responsible Consumption and Production,” which looks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Karuizawa is located in Nagano Prefecture which is ranked as the 2nd biggest producer of apples in Japan. When growing apples, those fruits which incur any kind of damage or grazing isn’t shipped to the country’s supermarkets or stores. It’s these not-so-perfect apples that Tombo-no-yu uses for its apple hot spring experience. Though it may just be a small step towards that goes, it still goes a small incremental way towards achieving it.

 

Free entry to Ringo Tsuchi

The main raw materials at Ringo Tsuchi (“Apple Earth”) are the apples used in the apple hot springs and fallen leaves from around the Hoshino area. In addition to compost and water, the materials are fermented, which adds the necessary nutrients to growing apples and creates soft and breathable soil. And since compost is added, it creates an environment where gardening tools can be used in the earth without any prior preparation.

 

The completion of Ringo Tsuchi

In the mid-October last year, work was carried out at Nomoto Kajuen Orchards in Mimakigahara Okubo, Nagano, to carefully select picked apples and not-so-perfect apples. These apples were used for the apple hot springs at Tombo-no-yu over a three day period from October 23 to 25. The apples are placed in both the male and female hot springs to float on the water.

After that three-day period, the apples were collected, washed, and cut to be used for compost. Since fermentation removes water content, the staff also had to add water twice a month to manage the compost.

 

Working with the locals

Katsuya Nomoto is a representative of Nomoto Kajuen Orchards, a farm that grows apples, prunes, and more. The farm takes advantage of the area’s high altitude and takes pride in its work to cultivate produce that is healthy to the body and environment using soil microbes as an organic fertiliser. It’s also officially recognised as a farm dedicated to supporting Nagano’s environment, and carries out school trips for children to visit, creating ties with the local community.

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