In 1997, when Mr. Tomoyuki Shimono came all the way from Tokyo to Kannami, near Mishima City, he surely had a grand idea: not only he wanted to create his own bio dairy products and beer, but he also knew how to develop it to contribute to a better environment and cooperation with locals.
He certainly needed a lot of courage to achieve his goals: Kannami is far away from urban life regardless of the great numbers of Tokyoites-owned villas sprouting all over a nearby mountain. At the time he arrived there, the land was poor and grew little but oranges due to its exposure to cold winds in winter and searing heat in summer. Oratche’s beer was not called “Wind Valley Beer” because it sounded good, but because it was a fact of life!
I had already written a few articles about their surprisingly good cheeses when I met their young business department executive, Mr. Satoru Nishimura, by pure chance in Isetan Department Store in Shizuoka City. The gentleman most readily assented when I asked him if I may visit and investigate his company. He went as far as picking me up at the station, about ten minutes away from his establishment.
Oratche is a multiple-purpose company as they include a large shop, a dairy classroom for kids, an attraction park with rabbits, goats and ponies.
Local farmers have their own space where they can sell their own bio vegetables to visitors. Oratche had a good idea to recycle the refuse from the many cows they keep for milk and calves they raise for meat. They just give it to the local farmers who can use it as biological fertiliser!
They certainly never run out of it, I can tell you, as everything is well planned and quickly disposed of! They grow their own corn for feed combined with hay directly imported from the States. Knowing the Japanese Customs’ pickiness, I do not harbour any worry about its quality!
Now, their beer was a discovery!
I was lucky to come just after the new batch was finished. It was Sunday, and the beer brewery was on holiday, but they opened for my sole person and was offered a premium taste of three beers (see boards above. I had to decline the others, as I did not trust myself! Lucky I don’t drive!)
Great beer, seven of them, unfiltered and organic, with a very creamy foam. Wait until I report on the bottles I brought back home!
Before taking my leave, the company graciously offered me lunch at their restaurant where most ingedients are local. The enormous chicken side I chose is from Mishima, and the vegetables from local farmers. The carrots were so sweet!
Do look at their homepage, ven if it in Japanese (they are planning to start a blog soon), and you will see their wealth of products: milk, cream, butter, cheese,yoghurt, ice-creams, fruit juices, jams, cakes and beer!
I’m planning on more visits. If you are interested, do join me!
419-0105 Shizuoka Ken, Tagat Gun, Tanna, 349-1
Business hours: 10:00~18:00 (week days), 10:00~20:00 (Sat., Sun. and National Holidays)
Free car park.