The Okada Tea Farm produces organic tea in Shizuoka and has been practicing cultivation with the Natural Farming (自然農法; Shizen Nouhou in Japanese) philosophy for over 50 years.
The family farm and business began with Eiichi Okada, who took up tea farming in hopes of offering a safe and healthy tea that people could drink without fear of harmful toxins. Applying the Natural Farming philosophy to tea farming was not easy, and it took many years of experimentation and field development before he could create viable tea products.
Continuing his father's passion, Takashi Okada, expanded the farm achieving a scale allowing the family to produce his pesticide-and-chemical-free tea at commercial levels. Today, grandson Shigehiro Okada is continuing the family tradition at the Okada Tea Farm.
As a successful farm, the Okada Tea Farm operates their own processing factory and has the production capacity to aggregate tea from other farms. They have been proactive in developing and nurturing other tea producers who wish to specialize in the Natural Farming method. Among these farmers is Tatsushi Kishi, who has been collaborating with Okada Tea Farm for many years and sells 80% of Kishi-san's aracha or unrefined tea leaves are sold to Okada Tea Farm.
Mokichi Okada's Natural Farming
The Natural Farming method was first proposed in 1935 by Mokichi Okada in Japan who drew inspiration for this agricultural philosophy by placing importance on the health and well-being of the people. It is a farming method which relies on the vitality of the living soil, without the use and reliance of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Instead, fertilizer is often produced from dead grass (similar to the concept of compost) and is returned to the fields to produce healthy crops.
- Cultivation does not use pesticides
- Cultivation does not use chemical fertilizers
- Cultivation only uses natural material found on the farm as fertilizer creating a closed system (grass and dried leaves are laid into the soil around the tea fields).