“Daisen Megumi-no-Sato” is located just after the Nawa Interchange exit of the San-in Expressway. It is the first expressway rest stop in the west part of Tottori prefecture. The acting manager, Mr. Hashida, says that most of the products on offer are made in Daisen.
Mr. Hashida used to work in clothing retail before he worked here. He reflected on the difference; “The fact that i’m selling things hasn’t changed, but the freshness and expiration date are important with fresh produce, so managing the stock is quite a challenge.”
Daisen Megumi-no-Sato offers everything from fresh vegetables to processed food, sweets and drinks. All the products are made in the town of Daisen. Only items cultivated or made in the town are offered at the shop.
“The most fundamental part of my job is offering customers delicious products from Daisen, but I am also focused on increasing the income of our producers, and sharing our local specialties with people outside the prefecture.”
I live in Daisen myself, and I saw the salad dressing and branched bur-reed that a local elderly group makes, in addition the vegetables of a farmer I know in the shop. I told him that I get the dressing from the elderly group and always have it in my house, and he replied with “Yes, we have a lot of products not made by big companies, but by small local groups.” I am very interested in sharing Daisen’s delicious local products with people, and I was very happy with their selection.
The shop doesn’t just have products made by the locals and local companies, but they also design and create products themselves. One of the most popular of these products is the tomato ketchup. I love this product myself, and no-one in my family has been able to eat other ketchup after trying this. The secret to the flavor is in the tomatoes. They are of course cultivated in Daisen, and are grown to be naturally sweet without any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The salsa sauce, with a tangy spiciness, is also recommended. The tomato ketchup is very popular as a souvenir for people visiting Daisen.
Mr. Hashida was very confident in recommending the Daisen Domannaka Ramen.
Daisen and Ramen?! I asked him why ramen, and he said “I wanted to make a product that could allow people to enjoy the wheat grown in Daisen in a delicious way.”
The wheat from which the noodles are made is 100% Minami Nokaori wheat from Daisen-cho, Tottori Prefecture. They are very careful when milling the flour, and have been able to create noodles that bring out the natural flavor and scent of the wheat. Perhaps due to this flour making method, you can see that the noodles have a unique color.
“The flour mill we use is also unique, and due to this the color of the noodles is quite dark. The color goes from yellow to green as a result of the aging process – proof that the noodles are alive.” I am a fan of ramen myself, and after hearing that, I decided I had to try some and bought a packet. I ate it at home – the thick salty soup matched well with the chewy noodles, leading me to eat it all up quickly. The soup, made from Daisen Dori chicken that is loved by locals, is full of flavor. I realized why Mr. Hashida was so confident in his recommendation.
“Daisen Megumi-no-Sato” also offers a dining hall where you can taste the blessings of Daisen. They offer an extensive menu featuring dishes using ingredients like herb chicken from Daisen and Tottori Wagyu beef. What is particularly amazing about this dining hall, is that everything on offer, from the miso soup and eggs to the rice, is made in Daisen. Eggs from the local favorite Ogawa Poultry Farm, miso from Shioya, rice with minimal pesticides – all the dishes are packed with delicious Daisen produce.
In addition to the set meals, the soft serve ice cream is also popular. In particular, the black tea soft serve ice cream, which uses locally cultivated organic jingamae tea for a sophisticated flavor, is very popular. I always have some when I shop there.
It’s not a huge rest stop like the ones in large cities, but the selection and deliciousness of The Village can’t be beaten. Everything on offer encapsulates the deliciousness of Daisen, which is surrounded by the sea and mountains. “Daisen Megumi-no-Sato” exists along with nature’s blessings. The products on offer change depending on the season and changes in nature, so why not visit each season?