Visit to a Rare Wasabi Farm

bringing the people behind our food to

life

I love coming out to the farm because as

you can tell it’s beautiful it’s quiet

out here it’s a two-hour drive for us so

it’s a transition time and usually I

think about what do I need to get done

at the farm we started growing wasabi

because we were looking for some added

income an organization I was working

with closed Markus was finishing

graduate school and we found ourselves

in a financial situation that we had

never anticipated and we decided we

needed to do something about it and

decided to get into agriculture we

investigated wasabi and it’s a plant

that grows in a way that allowed us to

keep our jobs because we knew we weren’t

going to be able to make the switch

immediately and in and all the pieces

fell into place I get the question a lot

when I say we have a farm where for our

guys wasabi and people say well what do

you grow and they say that’s it wasabi

that’s all we grow it’s very interesting

plant the entire thing is edible it

takes approximately a year for us to

grow a rhizome and I say that because

historically speaking traditionally

speaking that’s a short period of time

it can take up to three years for a

plant to produce a rhizome so we’re very

happy that we can get them in about a

year

primary thing that we sell is is the

rhizome and it’s located underneath

these leaves it grows above the ground

and then the plant has a fibrous root

  Greenhouse Farming

system that grows below the ground we

can be very selective in terms of our

size our buyers preferences vary in

terms of their size preferences vary so

we can be really selective we can go

through the greenhouse and if we have an

order for all extra larges we can go

through and find the extra larges so we

can check I can actually check you can’t

really see it but I can check the

rhizome the size of the rhizome in the

middle by feeling the middle of the

plant

none of our process is mechanized so

what we do is we have a very long

handled small shovel and the plants are

harvested one at a time extract them

from the gravel with the small shovel

shake off the gravel and then trim them

and trimming means taking off the very

bottom roots and then taking off the

leaves its native habitat in Japan is

creek beds so it grows in the understory

alongside creeks so it likes cool really

cool conditions really cool highly

oxygenated conditions

starting today we’ll put the shade cloth

back on

I got it no keep coming we’ll monitor

the temperature if it gets too cold we

do have some floating row covers that we

can put on the plants but really the

less we’re in here and we mess with them

the better the better they do how are we

at the end of the day sometimes it’s a

little bit hard to drive home two hours

  True Costs of Raising Pigs

but once I’m out here it’s I just feel

really fortunate to be out here and be

able to work like you know like

everybody thinks I I do feel fortunate

to be able to work with my hands and

grow something that’s beautiful and

tasty I do

90 plus percent of the wasabi that you

get in a sushi restaurant is has no

wasabi in it it’s all horseradish and

mustard and die