Nanbu Futonegi is a Japanese leek variety from Nanbu that is prized for its sweetness of flavor and thickness of stock. It is was registered as a traditional heirloom variety in 1964.
The whole leek from top to tip can be eaten, with the green top portion even being soft and delicious. Nanbu Futonegi are usually available from late October to early December. The Japanese leek is most commonly used by the people in the area in hot pot dishes, soups, and stews because the sweetness of the leeks stands out more when it is lightly salted and grilled or even served as tempura.
Delicious as they are the Nanbu Futonegi are extremely difficult to grow and the leeks even fell out of cultivation for a long period. Thankfully the variety was saved by the students of the local Nakui Agricultural Prefectural High School who banded together to save this traditional vegetable. The local students are still working tirelessly to this day with NPOs to research an effective and sustainable cultivation method to ensure the continuation of these special Japanese leeks.