T'Sou-ke band will grow wasabi in greenhouses in Sooke.

T'Sou-ke band will grow wasabi in greenhouses in Sooke.

The T’Sou-ke wasabi project

Sooke First Nation band plans on growing wasabi in greenhouses

  • May. 21, 2014 5:00 p.m.

Did you know that wasabi sold in grocery stores and served in restaurants outside of Japan is not wasabi at all? It is horseradish with food colouring (and maybe a little mustard).

I happen to love horseradish (try tossing a large spoonful into your next batch of coleslaw) and always have some on hand. But I have also had and enjoyed what I thought was real wasabi, a Japanese condiment that generally accompanies sushi, sashimi and other dishes. I associate the ‘wasabi’ I’ve eaten with a somewhat different taste from that of horseradish, but nearly always with a vaguely similar, if more potent, kick. After all, wasabi is usually referred to as Japanese horseradish. To learn now that I’ve been both duped and shortchanged all these years has come as a huge disappointment.

So what’s the deal here, anyway? What is real wasabi? What, if anything, is so special about it? Who grows it? Who sells it? Who buys it? Why is the market for wasabi just about to expand enormously? And, of course, why are consumers like me getting only faux wasabi, and will an expanding market change anything in this regard?

At this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club, Andrew Moore will address all of these questions as he takes members on a journey, one that T’Sou-ke took to get to the point of growing half an acre of wasabi.

Andrew Moore is an architect who specializes in community development. He has worked extensively in the UK, Africa and Canada, and has facilitated numerous food security groups up and down the Island with visioning, strategic planning and implementation. Moore’s work revolves around sustainability projects related to housing, renewable energy, food security, traditional knowledge, and economic self-sufficiency. His story of the journey taken by T’Sou-ke Nation, where he has worked for the past eight years to help transform a collective vision into reality, will touch on all of these aspects.

Please join us on Wednesday, May 28, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Townsend Road. New members welcome. Annual fee: $15. For more information, email sookegardenclub@yahoo.ca, or phone Rose at 250-642-5509. The evening will also feature a parlour show (exhibits should arrive at 6:30) and an outdoor plant sale.

Submitted by Loretta Fritz

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Classes are cancelled at Royal Bay Secondary School and other schools Nov. 30 due to power outages. (Black Press Media file photo)
Classes cancelled across the West Shore, Sooke due to power outages

Students can be picked up but facilities remain open

BC Hydro is reporting several outages in Sooke Monday morning. (BC Hydro/Facebook)
A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

The report could not confirm allegations of coordinated alcohol-blood level guessing game

Victoria police issued tickets to two Victoria party hosts Saturday night, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (Unsplash)
Victoria partiers hid in closets, bedrooms in an attempt to avoid fines

Police gave out COVID-19 tickets to two separate parties

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Monday morning. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong wind whips Greater Victoria

Winds predicted to subside by Monday afternoon

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Remains of the scene off Melrose Road in Whiskey Creek where three bodies were found on Nov. 1, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Probe continues into grisly mid-Island discovery of 3 human bodies, 4 dead dogs

Police still want to speak with motorist who picked up hitchhikers near scene on Nov. 1

An man from Errington died when his ATV went over an embankment on Northwest Bay Logging Road on the weekend. (File photo)
ATV rider goes over embankment and dies on back road near Nanaimo

45-year-old man from Errington died in incident Saturday afternoon

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
Fifth COVID-19 exposure reported on flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Most Read