The scene of olive trees bearing green and black fruit in November is growing familiar to residents of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, a city that often sees temperatures drop to below zero in the winter months.

"When I heard the olive growing plan, I wondered if we could do it successfully in such a cold area like this," Shoetsu Chiba, 70, said of the farming endeavor, which was launched to help local people rebuild their lives after the devastation of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

When the harvest season arrives, dozens of residents join people from the local agricultural production corporation Minori, led by Chiba, to pick the fruit.