Cultivation of wasabi rhizome began quite many years ago in Japan. The wasabi farm, which I visited several years ago in Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan, is owned and operated by Yoshihiko Shiratori, who is the seventeenth generation. The business was founded by his ancestors four hundred years ago. It is the oldest wasabi farm in Japan. Mr. Shiratori’s farm is situated 2,200 feet above sea level and surrounded by high mountains, clean air and water. His wasabi grows on the terraced farm where crystal clean, steady water run down from the top of the mountain. “Wasabi is very difficult to grow. It needs a clean running stream with the proper mineral balance, temperature, and fast flow, and just the right mix of shade and sunlight.” said Mr. Shiratori.
Today a high tech wasabi farm, Pacific Coast Wasabi http://www.wasabia.com/, in British Columbia figured out to farm finicky wasabi in a different environment successfully. The company operates several farms in America as well. This is a good news. Real wasabi has become more easily available than before.
Real wasabi is great in many ways. It has real pungency. It has real green color. It has subtle sweetness. It has fragrance. It has antiseptic property.
Here is the Youtube “Wasabi Secret” at the Worldwide Culinary Apprentice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EeL0ecAARE&list=PLAWpIBpOvRSLGmexIH1-Q1o11qbzzQRmD&index=12
Wasabi is always associated with sushi. But, in Japan soba, buckwheat noodles, is also served with wasabi. I will serve the end of the year, Toshikoshi soba with real wasabi this year.