We've been raising pedigree Highland Cattle since 1992. Our cattle are from fine, documented stock: for example, our bull's pedigree goes back eight generations, to the late 1930's.
In early 2003, we started to raise our cattle in the traditional Japanese Kobe style. Like Mikichi Kobu, whose farming techniques are described in another article on this site, we raise our cattle by hand. Unlike Mr. Kobu, our cattle are allowed (generally) to run free, and we feed them more beer than he does. We massage our cattle by hand, but using a portable generator and an electric massager. They love it!
The demand for our Scottish | Kobe beef really started to take off when the BBC featured steak (and particularly Kobe steak) as number three on the list of "50 Things To Eat Before You Die." (Lobster was number two, and fresh fish --- as in fish and chips --- number one.) This put us into a back-order status right away, and we're still trying to climb out of it.
One of the most important ingredients of the Kobe "process" in patience, so we can't just increase our beef production overnight. We are moving over to pure bred Aberdeen Angus cattle (and also intend to raise some Guernsey beef in the Kobe fashion --- please see the website of The Accidental Smallholder). We purchased six beautiful Aberdeen Angus steers a month ago and they're happily munching on grain and drinking their daily ration of beer.
American Wagyu Sirlin Steaks (approx 200g each)
So as not to disappoint our customers in the meantime, and to offer an alternative to other customers, we made arrangements to offer Wagyu beef from the States. As mentioned elsewhere on our website, Wagyu is a unique breed of cattle.
The American Wagyu Kobe Beef we offered comes from the Sandhills of Nebraska. They live on abundant acerage, and are fed (during the finishing process) a special diet of corn, alfalfa, protein supplements, and distillers grains. No growth stimulants are used. The beef is processed in a facility approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and licensed by the European Union. The beef is aged, and was then shipped to the U.K. as frozen primal cuts (such as a whole striploin). Because of the high fat content of Wagyu beef, freezing is the best method of storage --- think ice cream.
American Wagyu, Cut Thin for Shabu Shabu
The thin slice of American Wagyu --- for shabu shabu beef --- shows the fine marbled fat. This beef has a higher fat content than our Scottish | Kobe beef. According to Penn State University, "Wagyu beef has significantly higher ratios of monounsaturated fats over saturated fats compared to commodity beef."
Scottish | Kobe on left, American Wagyu on right
This photograph shows the comparison between our Scottish | Kobe beef, on the left, and the American Wagyu on the right. Both were sliced in the paper thin shabu shabu method on the same machine, same thickness, and at the same time.
Because of the cost of Wagyu cattle, and the cost of importing this beef (by air) from the United States, the price of this beef melted credit cards. Two sirloin steaks, each weighing 210g (approx.) cost £28.40 plus shipping charges.
UPDATE - September 15, 2005:
Because we now have our own Scottish | Kobe beef in stock on a more or less regular basis, we have decided to discontinue the sale of American Wagyu Beef.
The American Wagyu Beef was very expensive and this may be why most customers preferred to wait for our home-grown Kobe beef.
Should you really be desperate to try American Wagyu beef, please e-mail me and I'll see what I can do.