In the south of Aomori prefecture, to the north of Japan, edible "abôkyu" chrysanthemums (the name given to the palace of the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi -256 b.c. to 210 a.d. - who loved chrysanthemums) grow in the autumn.
The region of Tohoku (also renowned for its garlic, white daikon radishes, tomatoes, cherries, apples & pears…) grows the largest number of chrysanthemums. This is because of the very rich soil, the numerous mountains and slopes (arable crops are preferred to rice) and a very special climate. From spring to autumn the winds are strong, cold and damp and therefore summer is very cool. In winter there is very little snow and a lot of sunshine. Producing edible chrysanthemums started in Aomori during the Edo period (1603-1867).
It's in this verdant haven, more precisely in the districts of Nambu and Sannohe, that the JA HACHINOHE Agricultural Cooperative specialises in the growing, harvesting and processing of chrysanthemums. Very much part of the culinary traditions of this region, antipyretic qualities has been attributed to their consumption as well as beneficial effects on longevity, coughs and headaches.
JA HACHINOHE Agricultural Cooperative is made up of 22 farmers who have chosen to grow the "abôkyu" variety (over 2.5 hectares) because it is perfectly suited to the cool climate and for its rich aroma, its mild taste and its bright, pronounced colour.