What is “Wagyu”?

Wagyu is the name of the breed of beef that First Light farmers raise on lush grass pastures to produce the epic steaks for this Steak Club. Wagyu are renowned for their intense marbling and praised for having a higher percentage of unsaturated fat than other breeds of cattle.

Technically, the word Wagyu refers to all Japanese beef cattle (‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cattle). This is the same breed that produces Kobe beef, named for the city where the cattle were first bred 170 years ago. A Japanese family brought the Wagyu breed to New Zealand in 1994. Today, our Wagyu line is probably the only wagyu in the world that thrive on a 100% grass-fed diet.

“We chose Wagyu as our breed because it is the Rolls Royce of beef, the food of Emperors and Samurai warriors. Grass-fed wagyu is sweet, nutty, juicy, tender and just downright delicious.”

Interesting story: Back when we were starting, all the people who had been raising Wagyu cattle told us they didn’t like being outdoors eating grass. That Wagyu need to be fed grain and corn to gain marbling. This felt like a convenient truth and we were never going to keep cows in cages so we let them out, and guess what; it turns out they actually really like grass, fresh air and sunshine.

Then we started grading our grass-fed wagyu beef based on its marbling, like the grain-fed guys do. We fed it to our friends and an interesting thing happened. People worked out which marble score they liked and became overnight experts — “lean like 3 is the one for me”, “anything under a 6 is for…”

Suddenly it was personal.