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Crisp, Refreshing Scent of Shikwasa; Products Born from the Spirit of “Mottainai (to not waste)”
post : 2019.11.17 05:00
“My dream is to have the scent of Shikwasa citrus flowing in the air when people land at Naha Airport.”
Etsuko Ueda, CEO of Food Reborn, Co., Ltd., shares her thoughts. Her company is in the development of specialty products with the objective of regional revitalization. The name of her company comes from, of course, rebirth and also from “ribbon” (as the word “reborn” is pronounced similarly in Japanese), a ribbon that connects people.
She set out to establish her company when she met Shikwasa farmers in the northern Okinawan village of Ogimi, an area with the highest production of Shikwasa, a small green citrus fruit that is also commonly known as Hirami lemon. Approximately 3,600 tons of Shikwasa is produced in Ogimi Village annually, but after the juice is squeezed out, the 1,600 tons of skin and rind are discarded. Seeing this, Uda-san thought, “How ‘mottainai’ it is, to throw them away.” She began to think of ways to turn them into a useful resource.
Shikwasa contains vitamins C and B1 as well as citric acid which is effective for recovery from fatigue. It also contains nobiletin which many say is effective to contain blood sugar levels and blood pressure, it is also said to have inhibitory effects of cancerous cells, and also positive for beauty care. On top of that, they contain hesperidin which works to strengthen capillaries; limonene which is also said to inhibit cancerous cells; and tangeretin which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects…
In particular, recent studies have shown that “high amounts of nobiletin are found in Shikwasa peel”. Uda-san focused on this aspect and started the KISEKI Project.
She says the most important thing is to “have gratitude”. This spirit, she says, was taught to her by the Oba or the grandmothers of Ogimi Village whom she met before she established her Project. Uda-san explains, “Through KISEKI, I hope to deliver a message that there are important things around us that we may not be able to physically see.”
Supplements, mixed juices, essential oils, skin care products and others are produced in the project and available on the market. The Shikwasa is dried at low temperatures between 35 to 40 degrees Celsius, so as to not lose the nutritional value and its refreshing scent.
Shown above are reed diffusers made with Ryukyu Glass. Unlike artificial smells, the product is very close to its original, natural and refreshing scent. This is a great item to have around when you’re feeling a little tired, or wanting to heighten your concentration.
Their line of skin care is popular with women who are looking to improve the transparency of their skin tone, and although very light upon use, the products work from the under-layers of the skin to prevent dryness.
A tasty way to explore beautiful skin care is this candy which contains Shikwasa rind. The candy was co-developed with Take Seika (pronounced tah-keh say-ka), a candy company with a longstanding history. Each little candy is packed full of Shikwasa extract and peel, and tastes like you’re enjoying freshly picked Shikwasa.
Part of the profits from the sales is donated to the three villages (of Kunigami, Higashi, and Ogimi) to support their efforts towards registration as a World Natural Heritage site. The KISEKI Project has cast the spirit of “Mottainai” into shape. On both ends, the sellers and buyers are happy, and what’s more, there’s a very positive contribution to the region. It’s a project with so much hope, wouldn’t you agree?
Products Available at:
Address: 2F Connecting Terminal at Naha Airport, 150 Kagamizu, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 7:00 to 20:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi