Was-Kow_web500When you look around our Farmers Market, you may notice what appears to be a standard hot dog cart under the banner of Wa’s Kobe Dog or Wagyu world. The more knowledgeable of beef eaters might notice a difference. Words like Kobe and Wagyu will make the most seasoned foodies drool at sheer mention.

Kobe beef-(KO-BEH) refers to beef from the Tajima strain of Wagyu cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture according to rules as set out by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.[1] The meat is a delicacy renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture.

Source Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_beef>

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Wagyu cattle in Puslinch

Kobe is to beef as Champagne is to sparkling wine.  If it’s not from Champagne, France and made in a particular way, it can not be called Champagne. If it’s not from Kobe, Japan (Hyogo) and bred and raised a particular way it can not be called Kobe. Kobe beef is the most expensive and sought after beef in the world. The breed of cattle produces more marbling than any other variety and has a high ratio of unsaturated fat (the good for you stuff) that is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is very hard to get any meat out of Japan and they will never, ever sell the prized cattle.  However, once upon a time in the 1990’s 200 cattle were allowed out. And believe it or not, a few of those ended up in Puslinch.

Kobe beef comes from Wagyu cattle and not all Wagyu is created equally. The majority of the non-Japanese Wagyu cattle around the world are not 100% pure Wagyu. Many have been bred with other varieties such as Angus and as long as they are tagged with the name Wagyu, you will pay a pretty price. Upwards of $80 per pound!

ken and barn
Ken outside of one of his barns

Farmer Ken Kurosawatsu, who grew up in Puslinch, knows a thing or two about these amazing animals. Not only is he the owner of a farm, located only 5.9 km’s from our market, but it’s a farm that is credited with birthing the first 100% Wagyu calves born outside of Japan. Ken worked and learned about the specific care of these animals in Japan after graduating High School in Guelph. Ken worked for the company that was responsible for the first two shipments of cattle out of Japan, as well as a large Wagyu feeding operation in Hyogo (home of Kobe Beef).

Ken brought his knowledge back to Puslinch to help his father raise their newly acquired Wagyu and has focused on ensuring that his cattle are fed a special diet formulated to emulate the diet back in Hyogo. The calves start on a menu of natural pasture grass and alfalfa and then at 24 months are fed a finishing ration of non-GMO corn, barley, soybeans, wheat and bran. And in the heat of the summer Ken will also feed them a Sleeman’s beer to stimulate appetite. By the time the animal reaches 36 months they will have a hanging weight of about 1000 lbs.  Ken brings only 2 animals a month to slaughter. The meat is divided into premium steaks (which for the most part, head to Toronto restaurants), ground beef, bacon, sausage, summer sausage and a favorite of our market customers pure 100% Wagyu hot dogs. Which sell out almost every week.

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Wagyu steak ready for sale

Many people ask me if there really is a difference between Wagyu and traditional North American beef. I will admit that before I tried it, I too was skeptical. Was it really worth the price difference? I can tell you that it is very different. The taste is unlike any other beef you have ever had. You can literally cut the meat with a fork and it will quite honestly melt in your mouth. There is truly nothing finer. But due to the high cost of purchasing a real (or fake) Kobe steak in a restaurant, most will never get to try it.

This makes our Farmers Market truly unique. Not only can you visit us every Saturday and purchase a pure Kobe Hot Dog for only $4, but you can take home a variety of cuts and ground for a fraction of the price you would pay anywhere else.  And the best part is that you can chat with the farmer who lovingly cares for the animals he produces. This is by far the best beef in the world outside of Kobe Japan, and we are lucky to be able to help bring these exclusive meat products to your table.

Visit their website for more information: http://www.wagyuworld.com/

Visit them at the Aberfoyle Farmers Market from late May to late October on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm.

Read a Forbes article on the “truth about Kobe” to learn a bit more about this global delicacy.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2014/01/07/the-new-truth-about-kobe-beef-2/

Aberfoyle Farmers Market article written by Blair Moch