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” Akitaken Chikusan Agricultural Cooperative” – Promoting ”Kazuno Beef” of Akita

” Akitaken Chikusan Agricultural Cooperative”
- Promoting ”Kazuno Beef” of Akita

The History of Akita Kazuno Beef

There are 2 famous beef brands in Akita. One is the ”Kuroge Wagyu” ”Akita Nishiki Wagyu” and the other is the Japanese Shorthorn ”Kazuno Beef”.
”Kazuno Beef” is a crossbreed of Nanbu cattle and Shorthorn cattle. Osarizawa mine, a mine with a long history is situated in Kazuno-City. The Nanbu cattle, the Kazuno cattle’s predecessor, were used for labor at the mine. They have strong legs and can move about on rocky land, where horses could not, and were highly valued in Akita.
As a result, they were not originally for consumption. However, this changed in the Meiji period. It was crossbred with the Shorthorn and selectively bred. It was officially approved as ”Japan Shorthorn” in 1957, and recognized as a native Japanese brand.

Delicious Red Meat

We visited the pasture managed by Akitaken Chikusan Agricultural Cooperative. Cattle from local farmers are kept here from May to October, allowed to graze freely.
Ryoichi Kimura of the Kazuno branch took us to the pastures where cattle came trotting toward us. ”They are friendly cows. ” Kimura laughs. ”Normally when Kuroge Wagyu is kept out in the pasture to graze, they become lean.” The main feature of Kuroge Wagyu and similar varieties is their marbled fat. In contrast, Kazuno Beef has a firm red meat. Compared to Kuroge Wagyu, it has less fat and more protein. Yet it is firm with more beefy flavor as you chew. That is what makes it so popular. The flavor was evident when we sampled the meat. You enjoy the ”meat” not the fat.
”It has more vitamins and minerals compared to other beef. As proof, Kazuno Beef turns black as soon as it comes in contact with air. Actually, this is also a setback as consumers believe that it has gone bad.”

Rare Brand in Japan

Japanese Shorthorns are bred in Iwate, Aomori and Hokkaido besides Akita. However, it is said to make up only 0.1% of the domestic beef market. There are economic reasons for this as well, with ”Kuroge Wagyu at a higher market price, cattle farmers inevitably tend to prefer Kuroge Wagyu.
Yet Kimura says, ”We have to protect the breed as long as we have consumers that want our beef.”
”We can only sell 50 cattle a year. That number is not enough to penetrate the market. Unless we produce more we will not live up to our name.” Most of the cattle farms that breed Kazuno cattle have diversified farming. Kimura is concerned that at this rate, Shorthorns will vanish from the market. Kazuno Beef is perfect for people who love to enjoy the authentic beefy texture. Kimura continues his efforts in support of the local farmers to satisfy these consumers.

ACCESS

Akitaken Chikusan Agricultural Cooperative
1-2 Bodaino Hanawa Kazuno-City Akita
URL http://www.akb.or.jp/