Hello, since we are an organic green tea store, we would like everyone to understand what it takes to become certified organic in Japan. Yes, the farmers put in lot of hard work to be certified organic.
Our organic teas are certified by JONA (Japanese Organic and Natural Food Association) under the regulation of JAS, the Japanese Agriculture Standards. Organic products in Japan must clear the following requirements in order to be certified as organic: 1. Chemical pesticide and chemical fertilizer can not be used for at least 3 years. 2. GMO (Genetically modified organism) seeds or young plants can not be used 3. Can not be located in a place were chemical pesticide can be flown in from neighboring farm lands.
As mentioned above, farmers need at least 3 years to be certified organic. Of course, organic plantation is NOT something you can start from the next day. Many organic farmers say that they experience a substantial fall of production when they start organic farming (also means fall of income too). Once they stop the chemical pesticides, the teas are ruined by pests and diseases right away. To find the perfect way to plant it organic takes time, they need to find the right organic method that matches the climate and land that will do its job from protecting the pests and diseases. Some farmers take more than 5 years or even 10 years to be certified organic. Many experience difficulties for many years, but it’s amazing how there strong determination keeps them going until they find there own method of organic plantation.
One of the main reason that farmers start organic farming is because some of them suffer from health problems when using chemical pesticides and fertilizer during cultivation (this is said to happens to a very few). Another big reason that they raise is simply because it’s more sustainable (eco-friendly). Chemical pesticides and fertilizer are said to give negative effect to the environment, especially soil and water. Many farmers have a strong will to keep its family land clean and healthy so the next generation will be able to live and enjoy the same natural environment that they have enjoyed.
As for Japanese teas, it is said that organic teas are not as tasty as non-organic teas. Of course, simply making organic teas is very challenging but the biggest challenge is to make it organic and also tasty as well. The farmers try many methods of tea cultivating and find there one’s own method that best fits the land and climate.
As for our ShiZen tea, it took 5 years to make a small batch, another 5 years to make the whole field organic, and still working for over 15 years to make the teas taste better and better so everyone can enjoy safe great tasting organic teas:) Learn more about our farmer
If there is any questions please feel free to ask anytime. Thank you!