Yes, wagyu is arguably one of the finest types of beef you’ll ever treat your taste buds to, but within the wagyu realm, there’s a variety even more coveted: Sanuki Wagyu, also known as olive wagyu. Raised in Kagawa Prefecture, olive wagyu is the result of an interesting practice of agricultural upcycling. Cattle are fed olive pulp, the byproduct of olive oil manufacturing on Shodoshima, a nearby island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea.
This gives the resulting beef with a high amount of oleic acid which, in addition to some health benefits, is said to give the beef a super-tender texture. Olive wagyu even won the award for best fat quality at the 2017 Wagyu Olympics (yes, this is an actual thing). Moreso, the olive-intensive diet apparently infuses the beef with a particularly strong umami flavor.
Sanuki Wagyu is exceptionally rare. According to Forbes approximately only 2,200 head of cattle are raised this way, and the beef is elusive even in Japan. Still, this has not stopped Crowd Cow — a mail-order beef company that uses crowd-funding to provide customers with high-end beef at a relatively low price — from leading the charge to sell the rare beef direct to consumers on our shores. Crowd Cow says its existing customers already had dibs on this beef, but if you sign up now, you can have a chance to order the beef again when it becomes available again this summer.
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