Jumbo Nameko mushrooms are Fukushima specialty that has served as a symbol of post-earthquake recovery
Tadashi grew up surrounded by mushrooms and the people who worked with them. “I saw the tremendous potential in running an agricultural business,” he told us, “but to tell you the truth, I didn’t think I was cut out for farm work. Then the quake hit, and I was completely absorbed in helping out with the family business. That’s how it started, but in the process I realized how much fun it was. After that I was hooked.”
“My father and everyone else here is a nameko artisan through and through,” he told us--a bit shyly. “All they care about is finding ways to make more delicious mushrooms.” Buyers come not only from the Kanto region but from far-flung parts of Japan to get nameko mushrooms directly from Suzuki Farms. It’s a testament to just how good they are.
“Jumbo Nameko mushrooms are such a high-value-added products that they were rarely pulled from the shelves following the earthquake,” Tadashi recalls. “But for farmers, the earthquake is far from a thing of the past. They’re still recovering. In my mind, it’s the generous and consistent support we’ve received from distributors, restaurant owners, financial institutions, and others that has allowed our unique Jumbo Nameko brand to thrive. In that sense, the brand is a symbol of our comeback from the disaster.”
We closed by asking Tadashi about what Fukushima Pride meant to him. “Connecting with people,” he replied without hesitation. “It’s everything.” The proud expression on his face was unforgettable.
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