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 specialty beans and vegetables, a high tunnel, and a variety of small livestock and animals. Echigo Farm is owned and operated by husband and wife team Mark Frank and Kumiko Nagai, and assisted by our two young children. 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 started farming and studying 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.
We welcome you to try our produce, contact us, or visit our farm any time. We look forward to hearing from you!
- Brussels Sprouts
This season we will be growing over 60 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. We will also be experimenting with edible bamboo, ginger, rice, and maitake ('hen of the woods') mushrooms.
Edamame is our main crop. We have 2 acres of edamame, growing a total of 18 different authentic Japanese varieties. We are constantly studying 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.
During the spring and summer, we want to install an inspected kitchen facility, allowing us to process our produce (frozen edamame) and produce traditional fermented Asian foods for sale. We hope to start producing 100% local kimchi, natto, miso, and soy sauce by the end of this year.
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.
Visit our blog for more details!
You can find Echigo Farm's fresh edamame and other Asian produce at these locations:
Greater Springfield Farmers' Market
Located in the Battlefield Mall parking lot at the northwest corner of Battlefield and Glenstone, the Market is open at 8:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday April 9 - October 30, 2010. A winter market is also held 2 or 3 Saturdays a month between the months of November and March. Check the Greater Springfield Farmers' Market homepage for more information.
Mama Jean's (North Store)
1727 S. Campbell
601 S. Pickwick
Springfield, MO 65804
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.