Markets are often a reflection of the culture, and with Japanese markets, they reflect a culture that prides quality.
In Japan livestock isn’t solely bred to be as inexpensive as possible. Due to the premium placed on land, they are often raised instead to be as flavorful and tender as possible which is why highly marbled Wagyu beef (often generically referred to as “Kobe”) comes from Japan.
Aside from beef, juicy and succulent Kurobuta pork, free-range “Jidori” chicken, $27,000 cantaloupes cultivated as gifts (omiyage), and a wide variety of “sushi grade” seafood that comes in from all over the world are common in Japanese markets in Japan.
In the U.S., Japanese markets will source local North American producers that uphold these same standards and values. Below are some farmers and producers who do just that.
Cow Says Moo
Certified Premium Black Angus, If the Certified Angus Beef ® brand is the best of the best, then imagine something even better and you’ve got Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime. The most luxurious beef available, Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime represents the top 1.5% of all beef. Combine that with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s already demanding quality standards and you’ve got, quite simply, the very best melt-in-your-mouth beef in the entire world.
- Harris Ranch, www.harrisranchbeef.com, Harris Ranch is proud to be the only fed beef processor capable of offering customers an expansive yet local, California grown product line. We feature a non breed-specific Angus beef program as well as a premium breed-specific offering – both of which are available in USDA Prime, Choice and Select beef grades.
- Creekstone Farms, www.creekstonefarms.com, Premium Black Angus, Prime, based out of Kansas. The Creekstone Farms legacy began over a decade ago with one simple idea: provide superior beef products to satisfy the most discerning of palates. In 2004, they’ve taken their beef program to a higher level by not only offering conventionally raised Black Angus cattle, but another based on naturally raised Black Angus cattle.
- Meyers Natural Angus, www.meyernaturalangus.com, We produce top-quality Red and Black Angus genetics, provide a major market for producers who wish to raise natural calves, and offer high-quality beef into consumer channels. Our entire selection of Meyer Natural Angus Prime and Choice beef contains no artificial ingredients and our cattle are raised without the use of added hormones or antibiotics on a vegetarian diet of grains and grasses.
- Durham Ranch, www.durhamranch.com, With a long history of raising animals and custom butchering for fine restaurants, Durham Ranch is proud to offer you a broad range of specialty meats, including bison, wild boar, Wagyu beef, game birds, venison, elk, Berkshire pork, natural beef and rabbit. Our ranchers ensure that all Durham Ranch Natural and Sustainable Meats are raised according to the high standards we set for ourselves at our bison ranch in Wyoming. We encourage you to explore the site, learn more about our natural proteins, where they are from and great recipe ideas for each species.
Wagyu, “Is any of four Japanese breeds of beef cattle, the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. The meat from such wagyu cattle is known for its quality, and commands a high price. In several areas of Japan, wagyu beef is shipped carrying area names. Some examples are Matsusaka beef, Kobe beef, Yonezawa beef, Mishima beef, Ōmi beef and Sanda beef” – Wikipedia.
- Zen-Noh Wagyu (Japanese), zen-nohwagyu.com, Before you eat Zen-noh wagyu, you can enjoy it just with your eyes. A well-marbled Japanese wagyu is called “shimo-furi” which means “beautiful snow.” After you grill it, a Japanese wagyu’s flavor and sweet-rich aroma come from the wagyu fat, it is called wagyu-kou. The taste is mild and natural and releases a delicious aroma which enhances your dish. Also, the fat will melt in your mouth which will give it a soft texture from the first bite like no other. The experience is the culmination of all the artisan “farmers” who painstakingly raise and care for their cattle.
- American Wagyu, www.wagyu.org, As for the “American Wagyu Association promotes and upholds the standards for Wagyu beef, the finest quality of beef available in the United States. Highly prized for their rich flavor, these cattle produce arguably the finest beef in the world. Wagyu cattle’s genetic predisposition yields a beef that contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef.”
- Horizon Organic Milk, www.horizon.com, While we’ve grown over the years, our roots are in organic dairy. We always want to do what’s right for your family and the planet, and that starts with how we raise our cows. Our farmers keep cows healthy the organic way with attentive daily care, fresh air and a wholesome organic diet. And we believe organic dairy cattle should enjoy the great outdoors, so they get plenty of time to exercise, socialize and interact with the land.
Chickens Go Cluck-cluck
- Sheltons Premium Poultry, www.sheltons.com, The Mission of Shelton’s Poultry is to provide the finest Premium Poultry Products to consumers while maintaining standards and practices that promote family farming and manufacturers, promote the elimination of antibiotics and growth stimulants in growing chickens and turkeys, and produce products that simply taste great. At Shelton’s, our Chickens and Turkeys Don’t do Drugs™
- Jidori(™) Chicken, www.jidorichicken.com, It started in Los Angeles, where asian-fusion culinary pioneers were looking for a chicken as fresh and great tasting as the finest sushi. We developed Jidori® Chicken for them, and now we offer it to you. Our chickens are raised free range, humanely, at small farms in California. They’re fed all natural grains, without meat by-products, hormones, or steroids. You will taste the difference. There is only one source for Jidori® Chicken, and we are proud to serve you the best chicken in the world.
- Chino Valley Ranchers, www.chinovalleyranchers.com, (packaged for Mitsuwa, so not exactly sure which eggs they use) Our Organic Free-Range eggs come from hens that live on free-range farms and fed only the finest organic (non-GMO) grains & seeds from certified pesticide-free fields.To ensure purity and quality, we mill our own feed onsite at Southern California’s only dedicated organic poultry feed mill. And we inspect each egg so we know it’s fit to wear our name.
Piggy Goes Oink-oink
Heritage Kurobuta pork (Berkshire), Kurobuta are 100% Berkshire, but not all 100% Berkshire can be qualified as Kurobuta. Kurobuta Pork is the best of the best from 100% Berkshire Pork. We select only from the 100% Berkshire hogs certified by Heritage Berkshire Program.
- duBreton Pork, www.dubreton.com, Started in 1944 in Canada by Napoleon and Adrienne Breton. The couple both grew the company into what it is today which is 500 empolyees, a network of over 200 farms across Quebec and Ontario, and their products are distributed internationally. Along with the duBreton standards being the benchmarks in the pork farming and processing industry. To continue that legacy, Vincent Breton, a third generation president, still shares the values of respect for nature, animals, and for its customers and consumers.
Fish go Blub-blub (Seafood)
- Global market: Want fresh fish, Japanese markets have plenty of fresh and frozen seafood beyond just salmon. Besides, when was the last time you and your family had an grilled octopus arm, steamed monkfish liver, to melt in your mouth slabs of fatty tuna belly sashimi.
Produce Goes ?? (You Got Me Here)
- Local markets: Want organically grown vegetables, markets such as Nijiya own and operate their own farms in San Diego to grow their own produce.
Playing devil’s advocate: Understanding the terminology used by producers can be confusing and sometimes misleading, so here’s an informative article by NPR that goes over what to watch out for.
“Organic” – What You Might Think It Means: Chickens with hemp bracelets and yoga pants change the sign on their coop from “Chicken Coop” to “Chicken Co-op,” then begin composting.
Where to Buy:
- Marukai Jidori chicken, Harris Ranch U.S.D.A Prime Angus
- Mitsuwa Golden Jidori eggs, Chino Valley Ranchers
- Nijiya Horizon Milk, duBreton Pork, Meyers Natural Angus, Organically grown vegetables.
- Seiwa Royal Berkshire Pork and Creekstone Farms
- Tokyo Central Jidori chicken, Harris Ranch U.S.D.A Prime Angus, Sheltons, Matsu Kuroge Gyu