NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

”Ogata Ranch, Meat Cuisine Ogata” Maesawa Beef grown in Oshu

”Ogata Ranch, Meat Cuisine Ogata”
Maesawa Beef grown in Oshu

Branded beef from Maezawa area, Oshu

”Maezawa Beef” is a brand beef from Iwate. It is one of the highest quality of beef in Japan. Iwate originally has a long history of breeding horses. Cows were strongly considered for utilitarian purposes used in farming, and the volume of production for food was not that large. However from around 1970, it became popular to breed cows for beef, and in the 1980’s it became famous nationwide after winning many awards. Of course in order to sell as Maezawa Beef it has to clear many regulations stipulated by the union. Once you clear all the regulations, then it will become ”Maezawa Beef”.
We visited Ogata Ranch in Maezawa district in Oshu city in Iwate Prefecture. There is a barn for raising cattle and a meat shop close by, the ”Maezawa Beef Ogata Station East Branch”, operated by the ranch, and a restaurant ”Meat Cuisine Ogata”. First we go and meet the cattle.

Improving the quality with new feed

When we enter the barn the cattle stood up to greet us. In one barn they grow about 850 cattle. In one month they ship 40-50 cattle to the market. One of the important things for raising cattle is the ”environment” said Mamoru Ogata. It is important for them to ”sleep in peace”.
Another important factor is of course the ”feed”. ”Smell this” he passed the food so we put our noses close to it. ”Vinegar?” Nakata asked. He replied ”This is liquor. Beer lees.” In 2008 when the Lehman shock created a lot of chaos in the financial world, the price of imported corn shot up and they faced a crisis because they could no longer use the same feed. They searched for feed that they could make themselves and tried and failed many times. They visited a local ”okara” factory and a beer factory, and mixed with the feeding rice which ended up with the current feed that has beer lees. Since it is high in nutritional value even a small amount is enough. The beef becomes sweeter when the cattle feed on it. By shifting to the local feed, the meat quality also went up.

You do not need any sauce for good meat

The meat from well raised cattle in Ogata Ranch will be branded as ”Ogata Ranch Meat” and sold at the store owned by the ranch. In the kitchen we heard stories about the skill of butchery. Ogata is proud to say that the Japanese butchery skills are number one in the world. Originally in Japan beef was handled as ”sukiyaki” meat and the technique of slicing it thin became high compared to the rest of the world. At the same time, people started to prefer meat marbled with fat. It is true that we cannot resist that melting taste.
If you are eating meat as grilled meat or steak, then fat should be ”moderate”, Ogata told us. Nakata totally agreed with his opinion. Ogata told us that the meat with light fat which is not greasy is considered delicious.
”You do not need any sauce for that kind of meat. It is best to eat it when it’s hot. That is the best.” We tried the meat from Ogata Ranch. The taste, there is no need to explain. You need to taste it for yourself.

ACCESS

Meat Cuisine Ogata, Maezawa Beef Ogata Station East Branch
1-22 Mukoda, Maezawa-ku, Oshu, Iwate Prefecture