Written by Mutlu Sayar
VISON describes itself as a “beautiful village.” With luxurious hotel rooms and villas, shops, restaurants, cafés, spas, workshops and many other facilities, it is not a village where locals live, but a place built for one purpose: for visitors to enjoy life.
It is located right within a natural forest and has farms where vegetables and herbs are produced organically and pesticide-free. Some of them are kept for collecting seeds for the next planting cycle. Sustainable agriculture methods are followed, and even the compost is made from weeds gathered around the farms. Rainwater is also collected to be used extensively.
When we arrived at VISON, we headed to the farming area, which was our first stop of the day. There was also an Italian restaurant that offered fresh vegetable dishes. We joined one of the agricultural workshops provided by VISON, which included an Italian-style lunch at the restaurant using the vegetables and herbs just harvested with our own hands.
We checked the color with our own eyes and felt the freshness with our own hands before we decided which ones were to be used for our lunch.
The huge selection of vegetables and herbs varies, with many types even within the same kind. For example, I saw purple eggplants as well as white and green ones. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, radishes and others varied from long to short, tiny to huge and straight to curved. Some were grown outdoors and others in greenhouses.
The restaurant was close to where we harvested the vegetables. As we brought our basket full of vegetables and herbs to the chef of the restaurant, he carefully checked the items to decide what he would prepare for our lunch.
After a short wait, everything we had just collected was turned into culinary art and served in three dishes, combining beauty with taste. Some of our harvest was grilled and served with fish or neatly cut and boiled and served with spaghetti. Some was made into a salad. Everything looked and tasted so fresh.
Right after such a tasty meal, we were served a chocolate dessert with mango gelato topping. The elegance of the decoration showed how delicious it was even before having a taste of it. Coffee and vegetable tea was served as well.
Even if you do not join this agricultural workshop, you can enjoy lunch made with such fresh vegetables at the restaurant. All vegetables used for the dishes are harvested from VISON farms and local farms in Mie Prefecture. Beef and pork are also sourced locally.
Our next stop was “kiond,” a facility with the theme of wood, offering workshops related to the subject, with a playroom for children and a library café. The aim of kiond is to provide an occasion for visitors to learn about wood and forests, so that they can feel closer to trees and nature and raise their awareness of forest conservation.
In one of the workshops, you can make your own chopsticks, cutting boards, spoons, cute bird whistles, and many other items using wooden materials with rental tools. There are also some outdoor activities for children to learn about nature.
After the workshop, you can grab a book in the library café and read it while having a coffee. But don’t worry, you can do this even if you don’t attend the workshop. You can also do some shopping and buy woodcraft items there.
The workshop I attended at kiond taught us how to make a moss terrarium. Given a small spherical aquarium, I half filled it with soil, sprayed in some water and started decorating it with items I selected from a variety of stones, mosses, and wood pieces that were all gathered in the neighboring forest. It was just like designing a garden that I wished to have in front of my house. Using tweezers to place the items just so needed great attention and concentration, which made me forget about anything else.