8 Steps to becoming a Wasabi Grower
This article is for the person who may be interested in becoming a Wasabi Grower, but is unsure about what they need to do. While not providing all the little steps needed, it does at least set up a path to follow.
The questions are set up as if you are asking yourself them. You need to answer these as you go along. Have fun!
Am I interested enough in this to find out more information about Wasabi Growing?
If I am then I move onto Step 2.
Search the Internet for information. Need to understand that a significant amount of information for growing this difficult plant on the Internet is wrong and the correct information may not be freely available on the Internet. Can I employ or sweet talk a librarian to carry out a literature search for me? Once I have all the information I think I need then I can move onto Step 3. [Note to self: Will need to come back to this step as I find out about the information I didn’t know that I needed when I first did this step. Suspect this unknown information will be the most difficult to get.]
Analyse the information I have collected. If some parts of the collected information do not agree with each other, put aside for further investigation. Try and find definitive reference material that provides basis information that the collected information can be checked against. I have to realise that most material has been written by academics that do not have sufficient growing experience to realise what they didn’t know. Is there documentation available supplied by a long-term commercial wasabi grower? If there is then I need to obtain it even if I have to purchase it. [The Wasabi Maestroes book “The Wasabi Growers Primer” is available which gives the information you need to determine how and where you can grow Wasabia japonica.]
Now I have all the information I need to make a reasoned decision on whether to pursue Wasabi Growing or not. If I (and the rest of the family) want to pursue it then move onto Step 5.
How much is it going to cost to set up either a small trial or commercial farm? Obtain bone-fide Bill of Material list (if there is such a thing) for either option and work through the numbers to get a final pricing. I will have to include running costs, labour and land purchase in the sums. Also must not forget any costs involved in raising and servicing the finances, and loss of money use costs. E.g. Interest that I might have been earning if I did not spend the money on this Wasabi Growing venture. Can I afford it or raise the capital for it? If the answer is yes, then move onto Step 6. Use the simple spreadsheets supplied in earlier lessons.
Decide what size I am going to set up – trial or commercial?
With a small trial then that means I will not be fully committed if I decide not to continue. If, for whatever reason, I decide I do not want to continue then I can pull out without risking a lot of time and resources. If I go for the smallest commercial growing operation then I will have to be fully engaged – do I have the time, commitment and determination? Also need to understand if a small trial can be successfully scaled up into a commercial operation, or is going to be just a hobby farm?
Prepare a Project Plan to build the operation. Need to make sure that all the local building regulations are followed. What is the time frame involved? Do I need to employ labour? Does that change the costing I did in Step 5? Does this uncover any information shortages that need to be addressed in Step 2?
Buy the materials, sign all the documentation, clear the ground. Now I can start building the Wasabi Farm. Now I am committed I will need to focus on getting things working. Where did I put that building and operating information?
The wasabi Farm summary should include the area of land that you need, does it need to be protected and how, does it need specialised water treatment and environment control. All these costs need to be added in as required.
It is at this point that the wasabi farm summary should give you an indication if setting up and running a wasabi farm is possible for you at this point in time. If you are not sure then repeat the whole exercise using the information you have collected and the insights you have gained by doing this exercise.
I told you at the beginning of this course that there is significant planning and work that needs to be done, and this wasabi farm summary brings all that information together.