Like land vegetables, the quality of sea vegetables can vary. In Japan, most sea vegetables are supplied in bulk by brokers or middlemen who buy from growers or harvesters in large quantities. The bulk sea vegetables are then packaged under various Oriental and natural foods labels. Some sea vegetables are now artificially cultivated and others are picked from or grown in polluted waters. However, the highest quality sea vegetables are picked wild from clean waters at just the right time. Mitoku sea vegetables are bought from the small, traditional suppliers described on the following pages, who have been harvesting wild sea vegetables as a way of life for decades.