The Paprika Farmer

Paprika (パプリカ)
That’s what we call bell peppers in Japan.
Apparently it is the Hungarian word for pepper.
I love paprika.
But they are so expensive!
Almost 200 yen for just one in some stores!
The reason behind this is that
most paprikas are imported from abroad.
It’s said that over 90% of our paprikas
are from the Netherlands and South Korea.
And actually paprikas weren’t even introduced to Japan until
the ban of fresh produce from the Netherlands was lifted in 1993!
So why am I so interested in paprikas so suddenly?
Because of this nice man in the picture.
Doesn’t he have a great smile?
We met him at the local shop we went to for lunch
during our weekend in Miyagi.
He was sitting in the table next to us and
asked us where we were from and what we were doing.
(they’re all really friendly like that in Miyagi)
We told him we were helping out one of the paprika farmers.
He told us he was a paprika farmer, too.
He had tons stories about his experience with paprikas and
explained to us how he was slowly rebuilding after
everything was swept away after the tsunami.
And when we expressed our love for paprikas
he invited us over to his paprika farm!
His paprikas growing inside the large greenhouses
had mostly all been harvested for the season.
But he gave us a bag full of yellow and green paprikas
saying that they were the leftovers that could not be sold.
Which is crazy.
They were beautiful.
He also let us eat some fresh paprika right there.
Not only was it juicy
but it was sweet like a fruit!
So delicious.
I felt super lucky to be able to take so many home with me.
He even gave me the string of dried persimmon!
What a sweet man.
I’m constantly touched by
how generous some people can be.
And I love the friendships that come from it.
Of course, we promised to
help out during the next paprika harvest.
I can’t wait to learn how they harvest paparikas!

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