The English counties of Dorset and Hampshire have been home to watercress farms since the 1850s. These little peppery leaved plants are grown in long rows of waterbeds with naturally flowing water. It was watercress that led John Old and the team from The Wasabi Company to wasabi.
They saw similarities between the way watercress and wasabi are grown, but they also discovered that wasabi is a plant that is difficult to grow and had never been cultivated in Europe with any degree of success before. For John Old and his passionate team, that sounded like an exciting challenge!
They started growing wasabi in some abandoned watercress beds and, after a good deal of trial and error, brought in their first wasabi harvest two years later. Sales of wasabi now reach some of the top chefs across Europe, many of whom use wasabi in the traditional way, freshly grated as an accompaniment to sushi and sashimi.