Kagoshima’s mikan farmer revamps freeze-dried products, calling for crowdfunding support

PUBLISHED Mar 1, 2022

Sayaka Takahashi of Morinokura Noen calls for support, showing her freeze-dried Cuwash!

Sayaka Takahashi, the third-generation mikan farmer of Morinokura Noen in Kagoshima, is now calling for support on the crowdfunding site CAMPFIRE to promote Osato Mikan throughout Japan. Mikan is a variety of citrus fruit similar to tangerine oranges.

The Osato district used to be renowned for its mikan, and the name Osato Mikan was known in the past. Due to the aging of farmers and the lack of successors, the number of growers has decreased from about 800 in the postwar period to about 80 now, and the strength of the brand has weakened. Takahashi has been commercializing mikan jam and freeze-dried products, hoping to “send out information about Osato Mikan in a new taste and form.”

In preparation for the crowdfunding campaign, she relaunched her freeze-dried products under the name “Cuwash!” In addition to the bite-sized “Cube,” two new types of “Flower” are introduced in the form of slices. She also changed the packaging to an elegant line.

The taste of freeze-dried products does not deteriorate as much as juice-based processed products. “In fact, it is superior to that of fresh fruit juice,” said Takahashi. She also said: “Processing creates a different excitement, and I am impressed with the changes it offers. As a farmer, I find it interesting to be able to express my produce in this way.” Other crowdfunding rewards include Satsuma Mikan jam, a set of the same jam and Cuwash!, and a set of 12 bags of Cuwash!. The support amounts start at 2,500 yen.

The money raised will be used to “create a childcare environment so that mothers with small children can work comfortably” and to “disseminate the information so that fewer mikan orchards will be abandoned.” Takahashi added: “We have soil that is suitable for growing mikan. I want to raise the awareness of the area so that young people who are interested in growing citrus fruits will consider it as a candidate site.”

The crowdfunding campaign ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 5. Cuwash! products are also available from the vending machine offering the sextiary-industry products in the Miyage Yokocho area of JR Kagoshima Chuo Station until the 21st of this month.

  • Flower (left) and Cube (right) Cuwash! by Morinokura Noen

  • Cube Cuwash! by Morinokura Noen

  • Satsuma Mikan jam by Morinokura Noen