Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wasabi Farm in Nagano
When Hiroko visited Miyasaka Brewery in Nagano, she made a side trip to Daio Wasabi Farm in Azumino, Nagano. Wasabi is grown in the very clean water of mountain streams and many of us in the US have not seen real wasabi. Most of us only know the wasabi that comes in a green tube that you buy from a grocery store (which is in fact, not real wasabi).
Daio Wasabi Farm is a family-oriented working farm, where you can watch the processing of wasabi, walk around to enjoy the beautiful scenic views, and eat soba or wasabi themed food including ice cream. Opened in 1917, the farm is one of the largest wasabi farms in Japan. The farm is fed by constantly running underground water throughout that is kept at a temperature of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12-14 degrees Celsius). The wasabi is planted in sand and pebble trenches which act like soil. After allowing the plant two years of initial growth, it is ready for harvesting (removing one of the roots of the plant) year around.
It's hard to resist trying their wasabi ice cream. As Hiroko watched, a man at the service stand grated fresh wasabi and sprinkled it on wasabi soft serve ice cream. The ice cream has a hint of wasabi flavor, and with the fresh wasabi it was a perfect combination of spicy and sweet!