|Name of the GI||Tsuruta Steuben|
|Date of Protection||2019/03/20|
Tsuruta Town and Itayanagi Town (Kohata, Nonaka, Kakeochibayashi, Kashiwagi, Botanmori) in Kitatsugaru County, Nanatsudate in Gosyogawara City, Kashiwakuwanokida in Tsugaru City
|Applicant – Name and Address||
Tsuruta Steuben Japan’s No.1 Promotion Association
200-1 Hayase, Tsuruta, Tsuruta Town, Kitatsugaru County, Aomori Prefecture
Tsuruta Steuben is a grape characterized by large bunches bearing a large number of berries and strong sweetness with sugar content (brix) of 18 degrees or higher. The individual berries are well-filled and bunches are firm as a whole, which contributes to high storage stability and allows for shipment from the time of harvest in October to around February of the following year while maintaining flavor and freshness.
As one of the rare domestic grapes that are still available in the market after the New Year, with consistent quality and superior flavor and appearance, Tsuruta Steuben is traded at a price approximately 50% higher than that of grapes from other areas of Japan.
For the production of Tsuruta Steuben, the variety Steuben is grown by using the following methods: espalier training (1), super-long cane pruning (2), and hard pinching (3). When the grapes are stored for a long time, bunches are kept in protective bags.
The producing area of Tsuruta Steuben is located on almost the same latitude as New York, where Steuben was developed, and has similar climate conditions including annual rainfall and temperature. The area also has a temperature difference of 8 to 10 °C between day and night during the period of cultivation, which gives the grapes a high sugar content.
Steuben was first developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, which was later brought to Japan around 1952.Thereafter, cultivation trials began in Aomori Prefecture
Cultivation of Steuben was subsequently encouraged in the area, leading to the establishment of the unique training method around 1984, which combines espalier training, super-long cane pruning and hard pinching, and has been practiced down to the present day. At the same time, the long experience of growing apples (Aomori prefecture is also known for apple production.) helped farmers establish a long-term storage technique for Steuben.
Having Tsuruta Town as a leader, the area has developed into the largest producer of Steuben in Japan, with approximately 140 farms and a total growing area of approximately 100 ha, and at an annual production of approximately 1,100 tons as of 2017.
- Espalier training: A method of training fruit trees into espaliers or hedgerows by guiding the branches along frames or wires supported by pillars.
- Super-Long cane pruning: A method of pruning branches to a length that is 1 m or longer than in usual cane pruning.
- Hard pinching: A method of pinching off shoots before flowering to retain 3 or 4 leaves instead of the usual 5 leaves. Preventing new shoot growth in fruit trees encourages fruit development.