Once upon a time, a Japanese vegetables grower was producing such subtle and quality produces that he was known in France as the haute-couture vegetables grower. While this might sound like a fairy tale, it is the real-life story of a dedicated man who has a genuine passion for his vegetables.
About Asafumi Yamashita
Originally from Japan, Asafumi Yamashita arrived in Paris 25 years ago. At the time he was a bonsai artist and made a modest living from selling his bonsai trees. One fateful day, all but one or two of his Bonsai trees were stolen from his property. Left without his valuable assets for the bonsai business, he turned to his other hobby, for which he had natural gift – growing vegetables. With all but a green thumb, a few packets of dried seeds brought from Japan, and a handful of existing plants, he slowly built up his vegetable garden and supplied hard-to-find Japanese vegetables’ varieties to Parisian restaurants.
Exceptional quality produces
Self-taught, Asafumi Yamashati grows vegetables with a secret he calls ‘the Yamashita method’. He produces about 50 Japanese varieties a year on 3,000 square meters (a third of this surface being converted into green-houses). The modest size of his vegetables garden might be shocking for some compared to an average farm, however for Asafumi Yamashita what matters is not the quantity or the scarcity but quality. The remarkable Japanese vegetables he cultivates in his garden include hinona (long purple turnips), komatsuma (similar to spinach), beautiful white and purple eggplants, snap peas, micro tomatoes and other unusual vegetables.
While remaining down-to-earth, Asafumi Yamashita only supplies star-chefs. He is the one who decides what chefs he wants to work with. For example, he stopped working with 2 Parisian palace chefs he judged ‘not interesting’: one was never in his kitchen, the other one was contenting himself to simply cook diced kabu (white turnips) in orange juice. Harsh with himself and his clients, he only works with chefs who work hard to find the right recipe that will sublime his vegetables. According to him, two years of research are necessary for chefs to come up with the right recipe. The quality of his produces is such that he can not only choose his clients but also when to deliver and at what price (his tariffs being 3 to 4 times more than an average vegetables grower in Paris region).
If you are interested in Asafumi’s work, you can visit his ‘table d’hôte’ in which his wife, Naomi, cooks Nippon recipes with his vegetables. Please find below his vegetable garden’s contact details:
La ferme Yamashita
Chemin des Trois-Poiriers
Telephone number. : +331 30 91 98 75