The Rice of the Rumoi Area
The Rumoi Area is well suited for rice cultivation. In fact, Embetsu cho is the northernmost rice producing region of Japan, as is noted on a monument there. About 20 thousand tons of rice are produced in the sub-prefecture every year, which is 4% of the total amount of rice produced in Hokkaido. However, a high percentage is low-protein, high quality rice which is ranked in the top class of rice grown in Hokkaido.
3 branches of the Japan Agricultural Coop in southern Rumoi sub-prefecture have joined to market their own standard-quality brands which have gone on to compete and win in rice contests. Rumoi-brand rice won the Yumepirika contest of 2017. These brands are for sale throughout the Rumoi and Soya areas.
“Rumoi Premium” is gaining popularity as top quality brand which is sold in metropolitan department stores.
Many kinds of rice are grown in Rumoi sub-prefecture. In 2016 410 farms cultivated 4340 hectares of rice paddies. Rumoi, Mashike, Obira, Tomamae and Obira, the mid and southern regions within the sub-prefecture, are known for the table rice brands Yumepirika and Nanatsuboshi. Glutinous rice brands such as Kaze no komochi and Kitayuki mochi are grown widely further north in Shosanbetsu and Teshio.
This glutinous rice has been processed into a variety of local specialties such as sweet Hanadango and additive free rice wine. In Shosanbetsu puffed rice Hoshiokoshi is a special treat.
Kitashizuku is a brand of rice suitable for sake making which is used at the long-established rice winery Kunimare in Mashike.
Mashike: The Fruit Kingdom of Rumoi Area
Mashike has been widely known for its seafood and refined rice wine; however, approximately 50 orchards with a total area of 120 hectares are also located here. Thanks to good growing conditions such as clean water from Mount Shokanbetsu-dake, well-drained lands, and the large difference in temperature between night and day, Mashike can grow a variety of fruit: apples, cherries, pears, grapes, peaches, strawberries, plums and prunes. There are many orchards which are open for self-picking. You can buy artisanal products such as juice, jam, ice cream, fruit wine and so on at the many farm stands. Some of the other towns and villages in the Rumoi Area also grow fruit, for example Obira produces wine grapes.
Extra Hard Wheat Hokkai 259 “Rururosso”
The “Rumoi-Brand Wheat Promotion Project” was launched in 2008, and its persistent efforts resulted in the success of “Rururosso”. Rururosso is an extra-hard type of wheat which is grown only in Rumoi and is similar to durum wheat , the well-known type that is used in pasta. Rururosso is not sold in the national market regularly. Young producers of JA (Japan Agriculture Co-operative), a local noodle manufacturing company, and local cafes and restaurants have developed a cooperative relationship, and their collaboration made it possible to produce and sell raw pasta which is made of Rururosso, beginning in 2011. Since then other products such as dry pasta, bags of Rururosso flour, and an alcoholic beverage similar to unrefined sake have been commercialized. The unique appeal of Rururosso pasta lies in its rich taste and ability to maintain a good texture even after boiling.