The grace of gardens, the sweetness of "Ebisu Pumpkins"!
The town of Eniwa is located just a 40 minute drive outside of Sapporo, towards New Chitose Airport. Eniwa is famous for its rich urban based agriculture, which includes growing vegetables and flower cultivation. Currently the most important crop in Eniwa is the "Ebisu Pumpkin." In 1965, Ebisu Pumpkins became a well established brand in the heart of the Kansai region. To keep up with year-round demand, expand their business, and avoid over using fields, the company grew their pumpkins in Hokkaido. To this day Ebisu Pumpkins are a prize crop of Eniwa town, which prides itself on having many specialty products. It is said that the very first test crop of "Ebisu" pumpkins were grown in Eniwa, making them an Eniwa exclusive!
▲ Ebisu Pumpkins growing in Eniwa.
The focus of cultivation of the local specialty is paramount in the Eniwa area. In 1968 all of the different pumpkins varieties grown in the area were consolidated under the "Ebisu" name and shipping outside of Hokkaido was actively expanded using the name "Eniwa's Ebisu.” Of course, this popularity was a result of the hard work of every producer in Eniwa. All Ebisu Pumpkins use traditional bee cross-pollination techniques, as decided by the JA Central Hokkaido Pumpkin Production Committee. While this method costs more, the quality and quantity of pumpkins harvested also increases. The climate in Eniwa perfectly suits the crop, with its gentle winds and cool summer nights. The day-night temperature difference has a direct effect on the sugar and starch content of the pumpkin.
▲ Eniwa Ebisu Pumpkins are plump and have a rich, sweet taste.
While the "Ebisu Pumpkin" was well known in Kansai as a top quality product, in Hokkaido, as is often the case, there weren't many people who knew about the product. To help correct this problem, the roadside station "Eniwa Hana Road" was opened in 2006. This station features many local products, including Eniwa's Ebisu, and is a joint venture of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Association. In order to promote their unique "Ebisu Pumpkin," an entire corner was devoted to the many different pumpkin products available! Because of this effort, now many local residents have come to know the delicious local specialty.
▲ The Ebisu Pumpkin section located in Eniwa's Hana Road. There are tons of products available!
From among these products, there is one which has stood out as a favorite: the delicious "Pumpkin Pudding." This product is packed with delicious, sweet Ebisu Pumpkin and has a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth texture. The pudding is flavored with bitter caramel, giving it a sophisticated taste that has won over many pumpkin lovers. This unique treat is made without the use of additives, so you can enjoy the pure taste of the Eniwa grown ingredients. Last year, due to its popularity, the product sold out in May, which left many wondering what was so special about the taste.
▲ These pumpkins have a full-bodied sweetness and unique texture. Shown here is the delicious pumpkin pudding, which takes full advantage of these characteristics.
For those who missed out, or anyone who wants to see what the fuss is about, I have some good news: As of September this year, the product is back on the shelf! This past summer's fine weather gave us a spectacular growing season, and as such the pumpkins harvested taste great! Only pumpkins from this past summer have been used to make this batch of pudding, so the taste is sure to be great!
Each pudding is hand-made by the Owner and Chef of "Lisbon," a local soup curry restaurant. While direct shipping from the producer is limited, you can find the pudding at "Eniwa Hana Road" station, or in sapporo at "Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza." For those of you outside of Hokkaido, it is also possible to order the pudding on the Eniwa Chamber of Commerce's website, "Hokkaido Eniwa Special Product Market” (北海道えにわ特産品市場), just follow the link below.
The delicious taste of freshly harvested pumpkins in pudding form is hard to resist, and if you don't act fast you might have to wait until next year to try it! So during this fine fall weather, why don't you treat yourself to a taste of Ebisu Pumpkins? Quick, before they sell out!
■ 恵庭商工会議所 （企画・販売）
(Eniwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Planning and Sales)
Location: 80, Miyako-machi, Eniwa City, Hokkaido
TEL : 0123-34-1111
■ 道の駅「花ロードえにわ」(Roadside Station "Eniwa Flower Road")
Location: 18, Minami-Shimamatsu 817, Eniwa City (Along Highway 36)
■ Mail Order Website:「北海道えにわ特産品市場」
(Hokkaido Eniwa Special Product Market)
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Gakkun)
※ All photographs courtesy of sponsoring programs.