Wasabi Production

Project Overview

FS09-239
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2009: $8,649.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Principal Investigator:
Co-Investigators:
Amy Sue Blum
SARE Southern Region

Commodities

  • Fruits: general small fruits

Practices

  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Summary:

    Introduction: Wasabi is a crop native grown commercially and virtually solely– in Japan. It is a crop which grows in areas with fresh, clean cold water, cool climates, and heavy shade– very similar to the landscape and climate of the Southern Appalachians—which also shares many native to Japan. It is a premium crop, fetching prices of $99 per pound in 2009, a price which has risen to $125 per pound by 2012. While various enterprises have attempted to establish various, generally high tech, covered hydroponic, farms outside of Japan, because of import restrictions and protectionism, the plant stock and seeds are difficult to source. When they can be found, they’re expensive which created a stumbling block for an untested, experimental crop for small growers. . We felt it was a crop worth investigating, because of the potential profits successful cultivation could bring to small highland farms, the very conditions which are conducive to growing it are considered lost land for the cultivation of other crops, and because it requires cool, clean running water. We felt that finding a profitable crop, which could be cultivated in other wise non-productive land, would provide an additional incentive for the protection of privately owned highland springs and streams which are the headwaters for the drinking and recreational waters throughout the Southern Appalachian region.

    Project objectives:

    1) Source seed and plant stock/ explore various methods of propagation.
    2) Explore cultivation in various micro-environments. Establish beds at spring heads and along mountain streams with minimal disruption of the native surroundings.
    3) Successfully grow the plants through a two season cycle, to the production of harvestable rhizomes and into seed production.
    4) Explore potential markets and marketing.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.