Originally Posted at PNN Tokyo Stories, April 18, 2008
They’re pilfering the peas, snatching the shishito, walking off with the gobo. There’s a new crime wave in the neighborhood: stealing vegetables from “honor system” produce stands.
Here in western Tokyo, there are a lot of small plots of land being farmed by local residents. The vegetables are sold in local stores, co-ops, and, at unmanned stands. Just piles of produce and a money box.
￼￼￼These days, vegetable theft is growing. (Yet the looters don’t take the cash.)
In Tokyo metro area supermarkets, tomatos often cost 200 JPY (about 2.00 USD). For one. Cucumbers? That’s tricky. One day 33 JPY, the next day 50, the next day 78 yen. Then 3 for 100. Half a cabbage: 120 JPY. Three carrots, 200 JPY. (Currency converter)
“Some [of the farm stand managers] told us not to include their stand information, fearing their produce would be stolen. Some farmers seem to have given up [selling vegetables at unmanned stalls] as a lot of it is stolen.”
The Daily Yomiuri newspaper recently reported on the situation in my neighborhood!