Jacob Reiner, Director of Sustainable Design at ATOMFARM, discusses the newly opened 6000sqft indoor wasabi farm in Saitama, Japan.
Q. How are you growing Wasabi and what makes this system unique and sustainable?
"Our wasabi is being grown completely organically in a controlled environment using energy efficient LED lights and a closed loop water and nutrient system that uses 90% less water than traditional outdoor growing.
Wasabi has notoriously difficult to grow without Japanese fresh river water but we have solved this using a natural aeration and mineral/nutrient solution designed to emulate the properties of free flowing mountain spring water. :
Q. How do you produce fresh wasabi year round?
"By optimizing growing conditions and simulating natural seasonal light cycles using LEDs we are able to shorten the 3 year maturation time to less than 6 months. We use a staggered planting schedule to produce wasabi on a monthly harvest cycle for year round production.
Q. What products are you growing?
"In addition to the main root crop, this system is also producing micro green and baby leaf wasabi which has become very popular with chefs. Most exciting is the nano-powder we are able to produce which can be used as a base for various extracts for medical research and development.
Q. Do you provide your growing technology to other farms?
"Yes, our basic business model is to act as a bridge between these emerging Japanese technologies and the global trend towards CEA ( controlled environment agriculture). Efficiency comes with scale so at present we are working with JV partners on localizing this system for other countries and have a large facility coming on line in the US later this year.