Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dahlias and Pear Picking Part 2

One of my favorite day trips last year was when we went to Sera (about 2 hours from Iwakuni, exit the Sanyo at the Hiroshima airport exit) to see the dahlia flowers and pick asian pears. so, I made sure to repeat the trip this year, taking more ladies with me. This is my last autumn in Japan, so I want to make sure I see as much as possible!

For your reference, here is my blog post from last year, which includes a guilt free dessert recipe for pears, and then the web sites for Sera Kogen (dahlias) and for Sera Kosui, which is where you pay and get on the bus for pear picking. If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, the sites will be automatically translated to English for you. Both farms have different flowers/fruit at different times of the year, so it's a place I visit two or three times a year.

We went to Sera Kogen first, and paid our 800 yen entrance fee. Sera Kogen has a huge field of dahlias, dozens of varieties, which come in the standard size bloom of three to five inches in diameter.

However, my favorite flowers can be found in a small field, and these blooms can be more than a foot wide.

If you like pretty flowers, here is some eye candy for you:

It was a cloudy day with light rain now and then, but I loved the water droplets on the flowers. I just hoped that the serious rain would hold out until we had managed to do our pear picking. Once we were done with the dahlias, we hopped back in our rented vans and drove 13 minutes to the next place, which is a market where a lot of produce is sold... as well as snakes in bottles.

I thought that maybe these were snakes to let go in your garden to get the vermin out, but no. These can be purchased for about $25 so you can make Okinawan sake... the snakes are used as part of the distilling process. The snakes end up dead in your bottle of sake, but if you're a man, this is apparently what you want. The snakes supposedly help virility. Sure, boys, go ahead. Keep drinking dead snakes. Yuck.

All you can eat pear picking is 1,000 yen for adults, and 500 yen for children 4 to 12. If you want t pick pears to go home with you, the baskets are 2,500 yen for a small basket, 3,000 for medium and 4,000 for large. I took home a large and had about 20 small and medium sized pears in it.

We headed over to the ticket booth for pear picking, only to find out that the field were closed due to rain. What?! But we drove all this way... thank goodness we had Chie, who is Japanese, and she was able to convince them to open an orchard for us. We had to wait fifteen minutes (they told us 30) so they could put a tarp up for us to sit under and to bring the bus around that would take us to the orchard. Which was smart on the farm's part because there were 10 of us, we all did the all you can eat thing and most of us took home pears. And thanks to the rain finally showing up, we were not out at the orchard for a full hour. So I'd say they made their money's worth on us.

When you pick a pear, you want to lift it up and then tug gently. That way the pear comes loose easily and you don't ruin the stem for next year's fruit.

They give you a knife to peel the fruit... I sucked at peeling. Bring a towel... there is a place to wash your juicy, sticky hands, but a towel would have been nice.

My "all-you-can-eat" threshold was three medium sized pears.

So dahlia and pear season usually lasts through the first week of October, but be sure to check the websites for information, They are pretty good at letting you know how long the season looks like it will be. Enjoy!

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