The Sunflowers of Manno  
The town of Manno is located in southwestern Kagawa, near the prefectural border with Tokushima. Sunflowers have been cultivated here since 1989, when they were first planted in fallow rice fields. Though the town has a population of less than 20,000, its 1.2 million sunflowers draw in far more visitors than that every summer. The seas of yellow flowers come into full bloom in July, which is also when the town holds the Himawari (Sunflower) Festival to celebrate them. Aside from being pleasant to look at, the sunflowers are a valuable resource for the town. Sunflower seeds are now being pressed for oil at a local factory, which opened in 2018 in a building previously used as an elementary school. The factory, which handles the entire production process from pressing to bottling, uses only sunflower seeds grown in Manno. The oil is extracted using a low-temperature pressing process that retains the nutrients in the seeds, resulting in an additive- and preservative-free product noted for its high oleic acid content. Manno sunflower oil is also used as the main ingredient in salad dressing, whereas some of the oil-cake (what remains of the seeds after oil has been extracted) is used as feed for a local strain of cattle called “sunflower beef.”

まんのう町は香川県の南西部、徳島県との県境近くに位置しています。1989年以降、ここでひまわりの栽培が行われています。同じ年に休耕中の田んぼに種を植えたのが始まりです。町の人口は20,000人未満ですが、120万本のひまわりが咲くこの町には、人口をはるかに上回る数の人々が毎年夏にやってきます。7月には一面に黄色い花が満開に咲き誇ります。同じ月に、町では満開になった花を祝うひまわり祭りを開催しています。ひまわりは見て楽しむ以外にも、この町にとって貴重な観光資源です。以前小学校だった建物を利用して2018年にオープンした地元の工場で、ひまわりの種を搾って油を生産しています。この工場では、まんのう町で採れたひまわりの種だけを使用し、圧搾からボトル詰めまですべての生産工程をこなしています。種に含まれる栄養成分を損なわない低温圧搾法で抽出された油は、添加物や保存料を含まない、オレイン酸が豊富な製品です。まんのうひまわりオイルは、サラダドレッシングの主な原料としても使われています。油かす(油を抽出した種の搾りかす)の一部は「ひまわり牛」と呼ばれる地元産の牛の飼料に使われています。