If you haven’t heard of olive wagyu, you’re not alone. Considered to be the rarest steak in the world, only about 2,200 heads of this specific cattle exist in the world. On top of that, just a few are harvested each month for their meat.
Raised in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, the cows are fed a diet of Inawara rice straw, Italian ryegrass, and pressed olive pulp. But why olives, you ask? The method originates from Shodoshima—the second largest island in the Seto Insland Sea—where the fruit has been growing since 1908. Cattle farmer Masaki Ishii wanted to find a way to repurpose olive lees, a byproduct of olive oil production, and came up with a way to toast and dry the pulp, drawing out its sweetness and making it more palatable for cows. The result is a high-quality steak with a bold umami flavor and a high level of oleic acid. The monosaturated fat makes up 65.2% of olive wagyu’s fat content, which is higher than any other beef in the world and is what gives steak the desired soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. This incredible marbling is also what led this variety of beef to win the award for best fat quality at the 2017 Wagyu Olympics, beating out 182 other entrants.
Due to the limited production of these cattle, olive wagyu is difficult to find in Japan, let alone the United States—that all changes tomorrow, though. For the first time ever, olive wagyu will be sold directly to consumers in the U.S by Crowd Cow. The online service connects customers with small farms, promising pasture-raised, hormone-free meat and highlighting the best of what independent ranches have to offer.
Crowd Cow will be sourcing olive wagyu from three farms in Kagawa and will first open up the sale to existing users on April 16 at 9 a.m. PST. If you have yet to purchase from the company and want to get first dibs on this extraordinary beef, place an order today or cross your fingers and hope that enough will be leftover for a public event on April 17.