Release of Kurokawa Farm’s 100% Shiranui mandarin juice in Kagoshima

PUBLISHED Jun 29, 2023

Yuji Kurokawa, Managing Director of Kurokawa Farm (left), and President Akira (right)

On June 29, Kurokawa Farm, located in Fukiakecho, Hioki City, celebrated this year’s release day for its Satsuma Shiranui Nouveau, the straight juice of Shiranui mandarin.

The product is made by bottling the juice of Shiranui, a variety of citrus fruit cultivated by the farm. Among the Shiranui mandarin, those that meet the criteria of having a sugar content of 13 degrees or higher are popularly known as “Dekopon.” For this product, only the juice with a sugar content of 15 degrees or higher is used. “This year, the average sugar content is reported to be 16 degrees or higher,” said Yūji Kurokawa, the third-generation farm owner. (In Japan, fruit sweetness is measured in degrees, with higher numbers indicating increased sweetness.)

Similar to how shochu distilleries and wineries release new products while conveying the quality of that year’s harvest, Kurokawa Farm wanted to deliver the taste of each year along with the stories of the farmers and the production area. They commercialized it as “Satsuma Shiranui Nouveau” last year and designated the release day as the “解禁日(unveiling day),” using the analogy to the release of Beaujolais Nouveau wine. This year, they will ship 1,000 bottles, the same as last year.

The Shiranui mandarin used for the juice stays on trees for approximately 250 days a year, overcoming typhoons. The fruits are harvested in December and individually packed in bags. They are then stored for 1-3 months, during which the sugar content increases due to maturation. When the juice is extracted, the peeling is done manually. Kurokawa Farm has been engaged in juice production since the time of Yūji’s grandmother, and they have maintained the tradition of peeling by hand. He says, “By peeling by hand, we can prevent the bitter taste of the peel and other impurities entering the juice.”

The farm also emphasizes reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. For soil preparation, they use enzyme compost “Yokan-do” sold by Hioki City. Yokan-do is an organic compost made by collecting and recycling food waste and unsold food products from within Hioki City, mixed with bamboo chip enzymes.

Kurokawa added, “Last year, we had a good harvest of high-quality fruits. Each bottle contains approximately six Shiranui. I hope people will enjoy the taste nurtured by the sea breeze and sunlight of Fukiage.”

The price of the juice is 3,780 yen (720 milliliters). It is available on Kurokawa Farm’s website, as well as at the underground floor of Maruya Gardens’ Brancher Kagoshima Machi no Eki (gift product) and the izakaya Waso in Tenmonkan.