What Is Olive Wagyu

What is Olive Wagyu beef? In our quest to bring you the most up-to-date information on all things meat, we’ve uncovered a new (and extremely rare) breed of Wagyu that guarantees to please those who love delicious meat.

Read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about Olive Wagyu, from what it is to where you can find it.

History of Olive Wagyu Beef

Before anything else, you may be wondering how olive Wagyu came to be. Wagyu beef refers to a type of cattle native to Japan bred for centuries for its intense marbling, tenderness, and flavor. The word “Wagyu” literally means “Japanese cow.”

Ranchers in Japan raise several different breeds of Wagyu for various purposes. For example, Kuroge Washu cattle (one of the four major Japanese beef cattle breeds) is widely known as the best type of cow for producing the famous Kobe beef.

Japan’s Olive Tree Island

So what is Olive Wagyu, and how does it differ from regular Wagyu beef? It all began in Shodoshima, a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. The area’s mild climate and fertile soil make it the perfect place to grow olive trees, and the locals eventually became active producers of high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Cattle farmers also called the island home, but their businesses struggled from the lack of nearby ports. The low demand soon changed in 2006, when one rancher named Masaki Ishii found a new approach to raising cattle.

The Birth of Olive Wagyu

The innovative rancher saw potential in the island’s olive trees, which produced a lot of leftover pulp after farmers pressed the fruit for their oil. He began feeding his cattle with the byproduct and was amazed at how much it improved the quality of their meat.

The rancher quickly realized he had stumbled onto something special and officially branded his beef as “Olive Wagyu.” The unique feeding practice took three years to perfect and soon began to catch on. Soon after, Olive Wagyu beef began appearing in high-end restaurants all over Japan.

What Exactly Is Olive Wagyu?

Simply put, Olive Wagyu stems from Japanese cattle fed a diet consisting of olive pulp. Wagyu beef is already renowned for its intense marbling, high fat content, tenderness, and flavor, but the unique feeding practice of Olive Wagyu further enhances these characteristics.

This type of beef contains higher amounts of monounsaturated oleic acid, a substance that increases the meat’s tenderness. Many meat connoisseurs also praised its richer umami flavor, a likely result of olive oil’s phenolic compounds.

The beef is so prized that it can fetch a high price tag, and a single steak can sell for hundreds of dollars. As the demand for Olive Wagyu continues to grow, more and more ranchers will produce it. So hopefully, the price will come down in the near future.

Olive Wagyu Facts

Let’s go over some key facts about olive wagyu so you can be the most informed meat lover possible:

  • Only about 2,000 olive wagyu cattle exist in the world.
  • Olive trees arrived on Shodoshima in 1908 and grow on roughly half of the island’s landmass.
  • Ranchers cook or caramelize the leftover olive pulp before feeding it to their cattle to improve palatability.
  • The cattle’s manure becomes fertilizer for the island’s olive trees, creating a symbiotic relationship between the ranchers and olive growers.
  • Many consider Olive Wagyu as “healthy” Wagyu because it’s rich in healthy fats.

What Does Olive Wagyu Taste Like?

What is Olive Wagyu like when it comes to taste? Well, for starters, the beef is incredibly tender—enough to cut it with a spoon. The meat has an intense umami flavor and contains higher amounts of omega fatty acids than regular Wagyu.

The monounsaturated oleic acid in the beef also gives it a very rich, buttery flavor and a smooth texture. This is similar to how extra virgin olive oil enhances the taste of many dishes.

Some people even describe Olive Wagyu as sweet, likely due to the cattle’s diet containing natural sugars from the olive pulp.

Where To Buy Real Olive Wagyu

Since only three active Olive Wagyu producers exist on the island, their supply is limited. The best way to try it is to head to Japan and track down a specialized, high-end restaurant. If you’re not up for a trip overseas, one company has directly partnered with the ranchers in Shodoshima to bring the beef to the U.S.—Crowd Cow.

Crowd Cow is a platform that gives you access to some of the best, most exclusive cuts of meat available, including Olive Wagyu. As of 2018, they remain the only certified Olive Wagyu vendor in the United States.

Olive Wagyu vs. Kobe

Many consider Kobe Wagyu as the gold standard of beef. This long-held title is now being challenged by Olive Wagyu, as the two types of meat become increasingly compared by experts and meat connoisseurs alike.

Let’s look at a few key differences between the two:

  • Taste: Both Olive Wagyu and Kobe Wagyu cattle produce a rich and tender cut of meat. However, Olive Wagyu has a more intense umami flavor thanks to its high concentration of glutamic acid and peptides.
  • Texture: Olive Wagyu’s higher oleic acid content gives it an even greater tenderness than Kobe beef.
  • Marbling: All Wagyu cattle have intense marbling, but Olive Wagyu often contains more thanks to its higher fatty acid content.

At Steak Revolution, we’re constantly on the lookout for new and exciting cuts of meat to share with our passionate community. If you have more questions about Olive Wagyu or are looking for some new recipes, be sure to visit us today!

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About the author

Adam can tell you the difference between a flank steak and skirt steak and any other cut of meat. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.