【GIAHS農家さんのお手伝い】びっくりするクリ栽培のお手伝い

今回はたかちほごう食べる通信の日之影町にある栗農家さんの戸髙さんへ取材作業のお手伝いに行きました。作業は、ネット張り・収穫・脱穀をさせていただきました!

ただ、行く前は

とあ

まだ8月だけど、もう栗が収穫できるの???

と、不思議に思いながらの移動。だんだん山の奥に入っていき車の中からは辺り一面に栗の木ばかり!収穫できることを実感させられました。

作業は、ネット張り・収穫・脱穀を体験

まずは、ネット張り!戸髙さんの栗畑は山の斜面にあるため、ネットを張ると落ちた栗がその上をころがり、一番下に集まって収穫しやすくなります。

まず斜面を下りながら栗の木にくくりつけられているネットを下ろします。次にネット1枚あたり5ヶ所ほどビニール紐で縛られているので、それを全てほどいてネットを広げます。
この紐を地面に捨ててしまうと草刈り機に巻き込んでしまうので、ビニール紐は必ず腰につけたカゴに集めるようにします。そして、斜面全体に行き渡るようにネットを広げていきました。

ネットとネットの間は、戸髙さんが特製の針とビニール紐で縫い合わせていきます。植え付けの際にうまく育った木と育たなかった木があるので、間隔が一定ではなく、一度にネットを張れる範囲が限られているところも。

このように、ネットを少しずつ広げないといけないのが大変だそうです。

はるか

手間のかかる作業ですが、このネットのおかげで収穫がグッと効率的に!

そして、その斜面を上り下りも大変でした。。。びっくりするぐらい土が柔らかいのです!

踏むと崩れ落ちるような柔らかさでした。あとから聞いてみると、それはイタリアンライグラスという牛の肥料のおかげだということが分かりました。土を柔らかくするのは作物の生育の実りが良くなるからです。他に雑草をなくす働きもするそうです。

 

次に収穫!

次に収穫です!取材前は平地に落ちた栗を火ばさみで拾って収穫するイメージでしたが、実際は傾斜であることを活かし、ネットでキャッチする仕組みになっていて驚きまました!
ネット上の栗を追い込み漁のような感じで1か所に寄せていき、ある程度溜まったらトラックの荷台に乗せていくということの繰り返しで収穫していきます。

お手伝いをしたのは8月中旬でしたが、それでもトラックの荷台の底が見えなくなるくらいの量の栗が集まりました。栗は日焼けしてしまうため、毎日収穫に行かなければならないそうです。山が丸ごと栗畑に見えるほど広かったので、毎日全ての場所を回ると考えると大変だと思いました。

とあ

ところで、みなさんはどれだけの栗が収穫できるか知っていますか?

実は9月20~25日の多い時期でトラック4台分の栗が収穫されるのです。想像するだけで鳥肌がたちますね。しかし、多く収穫できても全てが良いものとは限らないのです。

 

戸高さんの農家ではA・B品、C品、規格外、の3種類に分別されます。A品は農協に出荷後、A品とB品に分別され、C品はむき栗などの加工品に、規格外は牛にあげるなどします。

A品とB品に分別される時、大きさで決まると思っている人が大半だと思います。私もその1人でした。しかし、大きさではなかったのです!形の良さ、しわがあるかないか、日焼けをしているかしていないか、で決まるのです。私も実際に分別してみましたが、

とあ

これはA品かな?

と思ったらB品で、素人の私にはとても難しいものでした。

最後に脱穀!

最後に脱穀です!脱穀は脱穀機を使っていきます。機械の上にある穴に収穫した栗を入れると、イガは真横から、栗は下の方から、自動で分けられて出てきます。

イガは風で勢い良く出てくるので、初めは

はるか

わっ!びっくりした!!

と思わず叫んで後ずさりしてしまいました。

手だと時間がかかってしまう脱穀も機械だと1つ1秒もかかっていなかったように思います。機会に栗を入れる作業は、ちょうどいい量を入れないといけないので加減が難しくかったです。

出荷できる状態にするまでの工程は想像以上に大変でした。

苦労の最後に農家さんの食べ物が出荷される

そして、1番びっくりしたことが栗に病気があるということです。それは、実炭疽病といい、栗が腐った状態になり、臭いが酷くなる病気だそうです。出荷することは出来ませんが、早期に発見すれば加工品にして食べることが出来ます。実際に、戸高さんはあんこを自分で作っているそうです。

とあ

クリにも病気があるんですね・・・

はるか

栗農家さんが苦労しながら作っている栗を是非、手に取ってみてください!

目には収まりきれないほどの規模で育てていて、戸高さん夫婦以外にも娘さん2人、人手が足りない時に臨時雇用する男性1人で作業しているそうです。

栗以外にもスイカなどの農作物も育てているそうです。数時間少しの範囲を体験させていただいただけでも大変だったのに広い規模を少人数でするのはもっと大変ではないかと思いました。でも、取材をしている時の戸高さん夫婦は笑顔で話してくださり、『農業が好き』ということが伝わってきました。

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