Eco-friendly Asian chives from Hadong, which are effective in strengthening the body and keeping it warm, are in the spotlight in Japan. At the end of last year, Wefarmer Co., Ltd. exported Asian chives to Osaka to be used as ramen garnish, and the vegetable received rave reviews, opening the way for continuous exports.
First Export of High-Quality Hadong Chives
Wefaramer was established in 2016 by 27 farmers cultivating chives in Hadong, for the purpose of exporting the vegetable to overseas markets. Offered under the joint brand “Ttangsaemi,” the company’s chives are considered to be in the top 1–2% in terms of quality at Seoul Garak Market, the largest agro-fishery market in Korea.
Jang Ho-bong, a director of Wefarmer, said, “The reason why Hadong chives have been able to earn such a good reputation in Japan is because they are grown at the foot of Jiri Mountain, an area with pristine water and clean air. In addition, our chives are aromatic and soft because we use organic farming methods and manage the soil so it is optimal for the cultivation of chives.”
In general, Hadong chives are considered excellent in taste and quality and are sold at 20% higher prices than chives from other areas.
Building a Premium Chives Image through Exports to Japan
Last December, Wefarmer exported six tons of Asian chives to KAMUKURA, one of the top three ramen restaurants in Osaka, where the vegetable was used to garnish dishes. Following favorable reviews from the restaurant customers, Wefarmer received additional orders. This year, the company expects to ship about 40 tons of chives to Japan.
Thanks to their high quality, Hadong chives were able to pass pesticide residue tests and other rigorous inspections conducted by Japanese customs. According to Japanese sources, Wefarmer’s chives made a better accompaniment to ramen than locally produced vegetables.
Jang said, “I believe our chives will have a great appeal to Japanese consumers. Their pesticide level is less than 1/20 of the Japanese import inspection and quarantine standards. They are less expensive than chives produced in Japan and the taste and texture are superb.”
The versatile vegetable can be used not only as garnish but also in many different dishes, so the demand for Hadong chives in Japan is expected to increase.
Hadong Chives as a Health Food
Hadong chives have a nickname of “liver vegetable” because they are considered effective in increasing physical strength and improving liver function. They are also known to clean the intestines and keep the stomach healthy. Chive juice has been traditionally used in Korea to treat burns and is thought to be good for treating diabetes, hemorrhoids, and intoxication.
As the awareness of the health benefits of Hadong chives is rising, the vegetable is attracting greater attention of domestic and foreign buyers. Capitalizing on this popularity, Wefarmer is planning to expand its exports in the long term to China, Southeast Asia, and other markets.
Jang said, “The weather conditions this year are good, so we are likely to have a large production volume. We hope to gradually increase exports to Japan, and when the export price stabilizes, it will help raise the incomes of Hadong farmers and have other positive effects.” He added, “We will promote the strengths of Hadong chives through consultations with foreign buyers and do our best to expand exports.”
Lee Young Ju firstname.lastname@example.org
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