Nakagusuku’s Hagoromo Farm bets on goats
Did you know you can get goat milk, cheese, yogurt and soap right here in Okinawa?
True, and the heart of the goat herds is the Hagoromo Farm in Nakagusuku. It is a very unique goat farm and offers handmade goat milk products for sale.
It’s a surprise to many that Okinawans like to eat goat, and equally interesting that Okinawans eat a goat sashimi or goat soup at celebration events like house warming parties. Goat meat has been considered very high-class cuisine and one known for its excellent nutritional value since ancient times, and it remains an important part of the food culture in Okinawa. Off course, not all Okinawans like to eat goat, and especially younger Okinawan dislike it mostly because of its strong smell.
The owner of Hagoromo Farm, Masahide Shinjo, is originally from Miyako Island. He points out that goats could open new parkets for the Okinawan animal industry because of their strong potential. Goat milk is easily absorbed when digested, and most people with allergic reactions to cow milk can drink goat milk. The sugar is low in goat milk and researchers say goat milk reduces stomachaches.
European countries and the United States are seeing increases in goat milk availability, but that’s not happened yet in Japan. Okinawa is the Japanese exception, since goats have been a part of the cuisine in the prefecture for a long time. If Okinawans take and expand the goat industry, and Japanese could become motivated to give goat milk and goat meat a try, it could be a new Okinawan farm industry, says Shinjo. He is trying to produce new goat products, with support from the prefecture to increase marketing and promotion opportunities. The Hagoromo Farm is the first facility in Japan to successfully deal with artificial insemination of goats, and Shinjo is trying to create more high class and stable qualities of goat milk.
Shinjo is also offering goat yogurt to elementary schools in his neighborhood, and says kids like his goat yogurt very much! The yogurt is mixed with fruit juices and does not smell as goat anymore. Then there is goat cheese, which is better known and packs a smooth although tart taste. Some people might find it hard to eat or even smell, but if you like wine or strong kinds of cheese, you will find a perfect cheese in Okinawa at Hagoromo Farm!
The farm not only produces milk but also natural soap made from goat milk, and it could be effective in dealing with atopy or allergies. Cheese and milk products are available at AEON Chatan or directly at the factory of Hagoromo Farm in Nakagusuku Village. Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tbZ9o
Shinjo points out that these are handmade products, and there is a limit he can offer every day. He asks his customers to understand that “sometimes you cannot buy products even when visiting the farm.”
The goat farm is a bit farther away from the shop, but visitors can see and touch goats at the farm in Minamihama, Nakagusuku Village by making an appointment before visiting. Check the official website http://www.hagoromo-bokujo.co.jp