ほんものにっぽんにのへ

HONMONO in NINOHE 1

VISIT

The Iwate Shorthorn

The Iwate Shorthorn
Yoshihiro Saito/the chief at Joboji-town’s Bokuya Union Association

With a summer mountain stocking and winter housing system, the Iwate Shorthorn cattle graze freely.

One of the specialties that Ninohe boasts has The Iwate Shorthorn.

The Iwate Shorthorn is a descendant breed of the traditional Nanbu cattle. From the times since Iwate used to be known as the Nanbu domain, the Shorthorns have been kept for transporting goods and played an important role in the transportation of iron from mines and salt from the Pacific Ocean. The Iwate Shorthorn were first bred with the muscular Nanbu cattle and then the Shorthorn species to develop into its current breed.
It has the special features of lean beef and is highly valued as a luxury ingredient at French and Italian restaurants. It’s a very valuable species that accounts for less than 1% of domestic beef distribution.

Being completely different from well-marbled beef, this species has lean meat with well-balanced fat and the creamy umami of the beef spreads in your mouth each time you chew. This deliciousness is made in the rich nature of the Inaniwa Plateau.

With heights reaching up to 700 m, the Inaniwa Plateau spreads at the base of Mt. Oritsume, Ninohe’s highest mountain. The gentle plateau is cool and a pasture stretches across it. There is a native beech forest nearby, and the atmosphere is refreshing.

The Iwate Shorthorn are released to the pasture from May to October where they graze freely. When winter approaches, the mother cows go back to the breeding house to give birth. In this region, the summer mountain stocking and winter housing system has been taken root.

Yoshihiro Saito, is the chief at Joboji-town’s Bokuya Union Association that supports running the common firm. He explains, “The Iwate Shorthorn are naturally bred on the pasture and raised only with native grass of the Inaniwa Plateau and breast milk.”

“The pasture is harvested after a careful check of the weather. We approximately reap three times a year, and the first cut of the pasture contains the highest amount of protein and is good for digestion. This cool plateau fits the constitution of the cattle. Grazing the grass here and the healthy lifestyle of walking around makes the excellent quality of beef.”

“In addition to the conditions that the producers create with in-depth research to take good care of cattle, the natural, healthy environment also ensures their growth. Fat covers the body of the cattle in order to maintain their body temperature from the cool climate. Since the meat isn’t marbled, it is mainly lean with very little fat. The fat that it does have is woven into the lean parts consistently, and when we chew them, we can enjoy the robust umami flavor. This is a taste made by Ninohe’s climate and its producers’ efforts.”

“What is the best way to enjoy the Iwate Shorthorn beef?” we asked Mr. Saito. He replied to us by saying, “Just ask Yamacho-Meat.” Yamacho-Meat is a wholesale meat company in Ninohe that directly manages a shop specializing in The Iwate Shorthorn beef. They are, so to speak, professionals about selecting meat based on the roots of the cattle business. Iwate Shorthorn beef is enjoyed by many people who visit restaurants and inns of Ninohe City. On this trip we’d like to introduce the beautiful scenery of where this precious cattle grow.