|Name of the GI||Hibarino Okra|
|Date of Protection||2017/12/15|
Ugo Town, Ogachi County
|Applicant – Name and Address||
JA Ugo Niinari Horticultural Cooperative
45-1 Izumida, Tarada, Ugo Town, Ogachi County, Akita Prefecture
Hibarino Okra is a type of okra (in Japanese: okura) without green raw flavor. It is characterized by long length and thickness. Moreover, Hibarino Okra are cultivated in greenhouses, so compared to okra grown in open fields, they grow rapidly and become large and tender.
Also, Hibarino Okra does not easily become firm and hard. This allows okras to be used in wide variety of dishes and causes Hibarino Okra to be traded at 30-50% higher price than okras produced in other production area.
Hibarino Okra are very popular among consumers in Akita Prefecture where Hibarino Okra production takes place, and they are shipped to the market around May every year.
The seedlings of Hibarino Okra are raised in pots. During this time, electric heating wire is used to keep temperature for sprouting, and irrigation is finely modulated to maintain precise moisture levels. Thereafter, the seedlings are transplanted and cultivated in greenhouses.
After the transplanting, producers conduct precisely modulated cultivation control. For example, since okras have a high tolerance for heat but sensitive to cold, producers close skylight windows of green houses in the early evening to ensure that the appropriate temperature is maintained.
The shipping standards for Hibarino Okra are defined as a length of 10 cm to 12 cm with a cross section of 8 mm to 1cm.
The name Hibarino Okra is derived from the geographical name, "Hibarino", located within Ugo town.
Ugo Town is situated in a basin surrounded by the Ou Mountains (1) and the Dewa Hills (2). Therefore, the area receives a longer duration of sunshine than other areas in the same prefecture, facilitating the use of greenhouse cultivation. This enables local farmers to maintain the appropriate temperature for okra cultivation.
Since okra cultivation began in 1976, local producers have checked and monitored each member's farms to improve the taste and yields.
With strong commitment to "large and soft" characteristics, local farmers have cultivated Hibarino Okra for over forty years. Also, with their additional effort to boost the consumption of Hibarino Okra in the production area, the amount of Hibarino okra production totaled 37 tons in 2016.
- The Ou Mountains are located in the Tōhoku region of northern Honshu. Spanning 500 km, they are Japan's longest mountain range. The Ou Mountains run from Aomori Prefecture in the north to Tochigi Prefecture in the south, and Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima Prefectures are located in between.
- "The Dewa Hills" is the general name for the mountainous and hilly regions of the Tōhoku region adjacent to the Sea of Japan. The Dewa Hills are also called the Dewa Mountains.