While I was doing some research on line I happened to come to the Japanese web-site which promotes “kome-tama” produced in Aomori Prefecture, northern part of main island of Japan. Kome means “rice” in Japanese and tama, a shortened word for “egg”, tamago. According to the site, this special rice-egg has an unusual color and flavor. The yolk is not bright orange but is beautiful sherbet lemon yellow in color. The flavor of the yolk is less intense than the ordinary egg, and is very refreshing.
Tokiwa Chicken Farm which has been raising chickens for eggs with imported corn one day faced a difficulty of getting the corn. A flood in China in 1994 killed lots of corn fields which resulted in the shortage of corn coming into Japan. In order to save their chickens the farm was forced to feed them with domestically available ingredients. The farm turned to the rice which is grown locally. Local rice farmer rented the farm the rice paddy which are not used, then planting rice for chickens began. The chicken waste/droppings became an ideal fertilizer. Tokiwa Chicken Farm raises 45000 birds. The birds are free ranged and very happy birds. In order to reduce their stress or to make their life simply happier the Mozart music – which piece? I do not know – is played in the barn all day long. (This is a very similar practice done at some of the Japanese cattle farm for producing delicious wagyu beef, and is a very Japanese practice.)
Feed rice (brown rice) is mixed with soybean mash, a by product of shoyu production which is locally available. The site claims that this feed mixture offers chickens important nutrients – oleic acid and linoleic acid, which helps to reduce the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Half a dozen kome-tama cost about $6.50. Does it worth a try? On my visit to Japan this summer I shall and let you know the flavor. To see the photos of the color of the egg and happy chickens, please visit http://www.yamaken.org/mt/kuidaore/archives/2012/03/41.html.