After a quick 2 day orientation of Fukuoka, we rented a car from Nissan Rent A Car to drive to the wonderful Takefue Ryokan, 2 hours plus drive away from the main Fukuoka city. Of course, being the planner in me, I researched on what interesting sights were worth exploring on our driving trip there, and lo and behold I came across this interesting blog on autumn fruit picking in Fukuoka. Fukuoka is one of the leading fruit producing prefectures in the whole of Japan, so it seemed only apt that we should visit one of the fruit orchards, which is something I have never done before.
Interestingly, when I read on Fukuoka Now, they are also the first to have produced the larger and sweeter version of the Kyoho grape, and Autumn was the best season for Kyoho grapes. Needless to say, Y and I had to check out one of the Kyoho grape farms and Fruits Farm Juran seemed the obvious choice, it had a large orchard on Kyoho, Aki Queen and Honey Red variety grapes all grown organically and even had a cafe where we could enjoy some of the grapes inspired desserts. So off we went!
Being the dutiful ‘assistant’ by reading out to R the GPS navigation.
Located in Tanushimaru, which is well known for Kyoho grape cultivation, we drove past lots of green fields, the air smelt particularly fresh in this area. And after an hour’s drive from Fukuoka city, we finally arrived at Juran.
Wonderful clear skies on the way to Fruits Farm Juran.
Lovely green orchards greeted us as we entered Tanushimaru area.
Upon arrival, we parked our car, and found that there were quite a fair bit of visitors, warranted it was a Sunday as well, this got my bear brain ticking if there would be enough grapes left for us to pick??!!
Quite a few visitors have arrived being a Sunday morning at Fruits Farm Juran.
We entered the narrow entrance and saw a quaint little courtyard with a lady manning a booth with baskets. She signalled to us to wait, so I suspected they could only allow a maximum number of people every time in the orchard.
Quaint little courtyard greets us as we enter the Fruits Farm premises.
Main counter to pick up baskets and pay for the grapes.
Selection of Aki Queen, Honey Red varieties available for sale.
So while we waited in the cafe, the kind lady served us a few Kyoho grapes, much to my joy, wish she could have given us more being greedy me. I think she forgot about us after what seemed like 20 minutes or so of waiting, so being the eager one not wanting to miss out on my pick of the grapes, I went to the counter and asked for a basket and scissors, and she finally ushered us to the orchard.
My first taste of Kyoho grapes this Autumn 2014.
I was so excited seeing the Kyoho grapes orchard in front of us, it was a bit mind boggling initially deciding which bunch was ready to cut. R, Y and I discussed and decided we shouldn’t be too greedy and over cut too many bunches as I hate wasting food, so we settled on finding 4 nice bunches which we can eat over the next 2 days in the ryokan.
Kyoho grape farm here I come!
The Kyoho grapes in the entire orchard are lovingly wrapped individually by bunches in this cute paper with a print of a smiley face and the other half is a clear plastic, which we can see through to figure out if it’s ready for us to cut. Generally, the nicer bunches are a deeper purple in color, and does not have markings on it, and I prefer the larger sized grapes. This was our benchmark in cutting the right bunches.
Cute wrapping around the Kyoho grapes.
Looking through the plastic for the right grapes.
Ooohh, these ones are not so right for picking.
This is harder than I expected!
I wish I could have a Kyoho grape orchard in my own home!
After spending about 30 minutes in the fruit orchard, we finally cut the 4 perfect bunches and brought it to the counter to be calculated.
Our wonderful grapes fresh from the orchard.
The lady at the counter would unwrap slightly the grapes and check for any rotten grapes. Given our skills, our grapes were 90% in perfect pristine condition. Finally, she weighted our purchases and totalled up the price of the 4 Kyoho grape bunches plus 1 bunch of the green grapes variety, we were all shocked to see the bill only came up to 2440 yen, which is about S$28. Yes, back in Singapore, one small pathetic bunch of Kyoho grapes would cost this price already. A pity we still had many more days in Japan, otherwise I would have definitely cut more grapes to be brought home for my friends and family.
Lady slowly unwrapping and taking away any rotten grapes.
5 bunch of grapes for 2440 yen! Amazing!
We needed a well deserved break in the cafe before continuing our drive, so we ordered a selection of the Grape with Fig cream cake, a grape fruit tart, and Kyoho grape smoothie to share. The desserts were delish!
Reserving the 2nd last grape tart before it’s gone!
Indulging in all things GRAPE!
I am glad I managed to squeeze in coming to Juran to have my pick of Kyoho grapes as it was a fun activity plus being able to get all these grapes at such a reasonable price was a great bonus. I would highly recommended this place to visit for anyone visiting Fukuoka since it’s only an hour by car away!
Fruits Farm Juran／フルーツファーム樹蘭
482-1 Ishigaki, Tanushimaru-machi, Kurume City 久留米市田主丸町石垣482−1