Grown during the winter months in southern Kyoto, the round turnip, known as Maru Daikon or Shogoin Turnip, has been cultivated by the Uchida family for over three generations. Belonging to a group of vegetables known as Kyo-yasai, the turnips are produced using traditional farming methods and the seeds are one of the oldest varieties of turnips found within Japan.
The turnips from the Uchida’s farm are selected for their exceptional quality and flavor, a result of the family’s particular farming techniques handed down through the years. Uchida’s turnips are particularly large, growing to a size of up to 20 cm in diameter. This is due to the slow growth of the turnip which are cultivated over the winter months: the larger the turnip the more delicious and sweeter the flavor. One of the most important factors during the cultivation of the turnip is that the soil is well irrigated. Using the nearby rivers and streams to irrigate the farm, the soil is additionally tended to by covering the surrounding soil with dried rice hulls. These rice hulls are a unique addition used by the Uchida family, utilizing the leftover hulls grown from their rice harvest from the summer as a natural fertilizer as well as an insulator for moisture. Once the turnips have matured, the family harvest 250 to 300 turnips a day which are later hand washed in water. Having worked with the Uchida family for over three head chefs prior, the special turnips are used in a variety of dishes throughout the winter season.