A couple of newspapers in Northern Ireland have announced that a wasabi farm has been set up in County Armagh.
There is no indication from the reports how many wasabi plants are on the farm and there are several statements in the reports that do not make any sense.
Below is one of the photos that appeared with one of the report and is also at odds with the statements made.
The growing method that the report states is being used is "under tunnels using hydroponic growing techniques", which is not the same as the included photograph. The growers quoted comment of “The soil in county Armagh is rich and fertile, capable of growing a wider variety of plants than is currently the case,” indicates that this may not actually be the case in the long term. The implications here is that the wasabi "farm" is actually just a small research facility with a scientist trying to reinvent the wheel, and then publish the results.
The marketing plan seems to be selling the leaves and leaf stalks to the Japanese and maybe a few Irish chefs for the first year, and then selling leaf, leaf stalks and rhizome next year (2018) as a paste to the Japanese.
My comment on that is, good luck with competing with the Chinese growers for the Japanese market.
Most Japanese wasabi is now grown in China in the ground under contract to multinational Japanese companies. The meltdown of the Fukashima Nuclear plant is close to contaminating the Japanese ground water (if it hasn't already) and most wasabi growing in Japan has ceased.
It will be interesting to see if this wasabi farm gets further than being just a pipe dream and will survive more than one crop.
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Startup or research into wasabi growing in Northern Ireland. Not clear on detail but plans to sell wasabi leaves and stems to the Japanese. See my comments.