Café Kopican,Okabayashi Farm, which continues to take on challenges, will become a bridge between the region and the country.
Okabayashi Farm not only grows citrus fruits, but also sells processed products. We also export a wide range of products overseas, including Australia, Indonesia, the United States, and Brazil. Japanese citrus fruits are very popular overseas. Its main export port is Yokohama Port. So I had been planning to make a base in Yokohama for a long time.
However, while doing so, it became a corona disaster ... .... Our processed products were also provided to restaurants, so sales dropped to less than half. While searching for a way to rebuild the management of the farm, I came up with the idea of starting a new business that combines a cafe and product sales in Yokohama, where I was planning to create a new base.
One of the reasons for this is that there was an exchange with Aceh Province in Indonesia from the beginning. Aceh Province is a region where coffee beans are thriving, and it is the production area of Gayo Mountain Coffee, which is served at Cafe Kopi kan.
Since 2016, Okabayashi Farm has been collaborating with JICA to conduct agricultural training for regional revitalization in Indonesia. We are one of the leading “sixth industry companies” in Kochi Prefecture, where we do everything from cultivation to processing, manufacturing, and sales in-house. We are also an agricultural corporation that coordinates farmers, so for many years we have put effort into initiatives such as purchasing land that could not be managed in the surrounding area, revitalizing it, and creating employment again to revitalize the region. I was asked to pay attention to these activities and say, "I want you to support various regions around the world that are having trouble revitalizing themselves."
That's why I decided to provide support in Aceh, Indonesia.
Aceh is a rural town that takes more than 10 hours from Jakarta, the capital, and has mountains and rivers, and is truly rich in nature. The environment is somewhat similar to Kochi. Citrus fruits were planted as shade trees (trees planted to protect the environment suitable for coffee cultivation) in such coffee cultivation in Aceh. Feeling a connection with this, we decided to provide our know-how to support the sixth industrialization of citrus cultivation in Aceh.
However, due to the coronavirus, the trainees who had come to us had to leave. I felt that it would be a shame if the connections that I had made so hard were to disappear, so I thought I would like to continue my support by promoting Aceh coffee beans, which are still scarce in Japan, by fair trade. Furthermore, I thought that I could connect the imported beans to Okabayashi Farm's new business, so I decided to open a cafe.
Originally, it was an idea that was born to overcome the difficult situation caused by the corona disaster, but as a result, I was able to take on new challenges through connections with people and countries, so I am very fond of it. It hasn't been long since it opened, but I'm really glad I did it. Also, citrus and coffee go really well together.
There are various types of citrus fruits, and especially the pomelo, which is a specialty of Kochi, is a grapefruit-type citrus fruit. The balance of bitterness and sweetness goes well with coffee. The Hyuganatsu citrus called "Konatsu" has a refreshing sourness, and it also goes well with Gayo Mountain.
When you think of coffee, many of you may think of something rich and bitter, but we prefer to use medium to light roasts so that you can enjoy the taste of the beans themselves.
The cafe also offers sweets made with citrus juice and drinks made with citrus syrup, so this is a place where Aceh coffee and Okabayashi Farm's citrus fruit collaborate well and I want to let you know the charm of both.
Although the number of products we handle is still small, we would like to further expand our product sales in the future, such as processed products from Okabayashi Farm and coffee beans for takeout and gifts.
Jam is especially versatile and recommended. It's a flavor I've been eating since I was little. In addition to spreading it on bread, it is also delicious when sprinkled on yogurt or used as a sauce. It's refreshing and not too sweet, so it's easy to use.
Recently, we have even received feedback from customers saying, “It was delicious even if we used it this way.” I am very happy that communication is born by talking to me like that.
In the past, he often traveled around the country at department store product exhibitions, but for the past two years he was unable to open a store due to the effects of COVID-19, so he says that this has become a place where he can directly interact with customers. I feel that it is a great value of Cafe kopi kan.
I hope so. I have high hopes that our efforts will inspire and lead to more revitalization across the prefecture.
In Kochi, the production of citrus fruits is decreasing year by year. The impact of climate change in recent years is the same, and the number of farmers is decreasing. On the other hand, demand from overseas is growing, so we are suffering from a shortage of raw materials.
In addition to the shortage of raw materials, we need to continue to explore new businesses while dealing with various problems such as the current corona crisis and soaring prices of peripheral raw materials. So there is still a lot to do and think about. I would like to continue to challenge new things without being bound by stereotypes.