The secret behind a blockbuster jidori chicken brand destined for success
That’s what Osamu Sato told us that he and about a dozen other family Kawamata Shamo producers vowed to do when they established the Kawamata Shamo Meat Study Group (now the Kawamata Shamo Promotional Council) 33 years ago. He still heads up the organization today, and their passion for success has since paid off. Today, Kawamata Shamo is known throughout Japan, fetches a high price on the market, and is served at renowned restaurants. Those who know quality food rave about Kawamata Shamo.
What people most love about it is the springy, firm texture of the meat and the delicious savory flavors that seem to intensify the more you chew. “For some reason, we have a lot of customers who use it in their French restaurants,” Sato told us. Most likely, it’s the fact that the powerful umami flavors stand up to the richness of French dishes.
One thing they’ve been absolutely committed to from the beginning is quality over quantity. Japanese Agricultural Standards demand that Jidori (chicken) be raised in a free-range environment with no more than ten birds per square meter, and that they be fattened for a period of no less than 80 days. Production standards for Kawamata Shamo are even stricter, with only three or four birds allowed per square meter of free-range space and a fattening period of 110 to 120 days. The more space allocated to each animal, the less stress they experience and the better the quality of the meat; the longer they are fattened, the more intensely flavorful they are upon delivery.
“Even with all that, we didn’t change our production policies,” Sato told us. “We took a more aggressive sales approach, landed new clients, and now our production levels are even higher than they were before the quake. Kawamata Shamo comes as the result of close producer ties. In the end, I think that’s one of the major reasons we didn’t succumb to the rumors.” “Of course,” he added, his lips widening into a smile, “the fact that we offer the best flavor didn’t hurt, either.”
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