The Oregon Coast Wasabi Story
Jennifer Bloeser is the Cofounder and CEO of Oregon Coast Wasabi the largest wasabi farm in the United States.
Jennifer and her husband Markus started the company that became Oregon Coast Wasabi in 2010.
For seven years the company was known as Frog Eyes Wasabi and in the fall of 2017 Jennifer rebranded the company to help prepare for their next growth phase.
Jennifer’s next goal is to grow Oregon Coast Wasabi so that her beloved husband Markus can join her and work fulltime there. One fun fact - Jennifer and Markus met on the Oregon Coast.
A Pear Stand
Jennifer’s first experience being an entrepreneur began in kindergarten. While most kids had a lemonade stand, Jennifer harvested pears and put up a pear stand.
Little did she know that years later she would be an entrepreneur running an agricultural startup.
Gardening with Mom
Prior to being a farmer Jennifer worked in the marine fisheries industry as a marine scientist, a Conservation Director and a Science Director.
Jennifer is a first generation farmer, her family’s professional background on her Mom’s and Dad’s side of the family is engineering, steel and telecommunications.
Jennifer never thought that she would become a famer, but she has always loved to grow things.
When she was a young girl she gardened with her mom in the backyard and they raise lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots.
Back in 2003 Jennifer was in the right place at the right time. She was at an equestrian training facility and a stranger was giving away wasabi starts.
Jennifer loved growing things and growing wasabi in sounded like a fun challenge. She took some of those wasabi starts home and she began growing wasabi in her backyard.
In 2007 Jennifer moved to Portland, Oregon from Port Townsend, WA to be with Markus.
Once she was here in Portland Jenifer decided to put in a garden in their side yard and she once again planted wasabi.
The Great Recession deeply impacted Jennifer professionally and at that time the marine fisheries industry – like many other industries, was struggling financially and by 2008 she began thinking about starting a business.
Jennifer initially thought about growing olives, but she did love wasabi and she knew how to grow it – at least she knew how to grow it in a backyard.
Jennifer was also intrigued with the idea of growing real wasabi once she learned that is that 99% of the “wasabi” that people get in US sushi restaurants is fake and most people don’t know that they are being misled about what they are buying and eating.
Jennifer had no idea the immense undertaking she began as she decided to grow wasabi commercially!
Being the determined businesswoman she was, Jennifer eventually figured it out how to do that, and today she runs the largest wasabi farm in the United States.
You Can Grow Wasabi in Your Backyard!
Jennifer is passionate about wasabi and she knows that you can grow wasabi in your backyard.
In addition to selling culinary wasabi – the roots, the stalks, and wasabi greens, Oregon Coast Wasabi sells wasabi starts so you can have the joy of growing wasabi in your backyard!
Many thanks to pechluck suwatanapongched laskey with Pechluck's Food Adventures for the photo of Jennifer below!