[Market-farming] wasabi

Trish and Joe Useldinger jeusel at ix.netcom.com
Sun Feb 29 10:50:32 EST 2004


Hi all,  I am a lurker on this list who appreciates all the good info you people gladly share.  A few months ago I saw that the dept of Ag had Wasabi on it's list of alternative crops.  Interested, I began research and found the two trains of thought; grow it near running water as it is done in Japan and or Hydroponicaly, and regular cultivation in soil. Either way I read that the plant is the same and only the wasabi purist who knows the source might be qualified to debate quality.  I say this as it seems there are few sources of real wasabi in the U.S. to base a standard against.  What the bulk of the restaurants serve is horseradish with a dye that they pass off as wasabi to the public who know no difference.  I have had some of this before and I remember trying to suppress the urge to scream and bounce off the walls like a cartoon charachter from the burn [real wasabi is said to have a intense burn that quickly goes away to a pleasant flavor]. I visited a large asian market and spoke with the produce worker stocking a nicely sized fresh produce dept.  when I asked about fresh wasabi I got a look from him as if I had asked for something wildly funny.  he pointed me towards an aisle that had powdered wasabi.  He did tell me it would be too expensive to bring in fresh.   As Adriana said "the cultural requirements are particular" , but if the people in the pacific north west have managed to do it, then others can too, although They are fortunate to have ideal weather and growing conditions.  You mention a non food source?  Are you to use it in a cosmetic or such and not as a condiment? I see that the people now cultivating it dont really have large facilities.  As this is to regulate demand and price or just a logistics issue related to propagation and leangth to maturity I realy dont know. As I said before, I am just a no body lurker, looking for a niche to enter into for growing a product as a one man operation.  Wasabi looks like it has potential for a nice upside, unless it is turned into an equivilant of the Jojoba or ginseng frenzies of the past.  There are no magic beans outside of the Jack and the beanstalk story, and I will keep up further research until such a time as I am sure that I will not be throwing hard earned money into a bad venture. I found a site for bulk foods that sells wasabi powder in bulk, asian stores sell powder, I have yet to hear of a fresh source, perhaps the time is come to venture into this market? please keep us apprised of what you find out!  

Joe
No farm
No Website
Nobody!
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