We speak with Sam Tumeh of Horizon Farms
What is Horizon Farms and what do you specialize in?
Horizon Farms is a new startup online business, located in Nagoya offering organic, ethically raised gourmet meat from family farms around the globe. We directly source and deliver to our customers anywhere in Japan.
When did you start Horizon Farms?
We’ve just incorporated our business in June 2018, so we’re freshly baked, however not new to this industry.
What is your history in Japan?
I have worked for a well-known meat import and retail company for almost 8 years and had the chance to experience Japan’s meat industry behind the curtains. Up until one day, I started questioning the status quo and decided that I want to offer a better alternative. This is how my wife and I came up with Horizon Farms.
What is Horizon Farms’ philosophy?
Our philosophy is good farms and better food. And we mean that. All our family farms are hand-selected, and we import or source directly without middlemen. We only choose family farms who own and operate the farm themselves. This way we can ensure that there is no larger corporation above trying to run things more “efficiently”.
So where does your meat come from?
Currently, our natural beef comes from the Morgan Ranch in Nebraska, USA. Our organic chicken comes from the Bostock Brothers farm in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and our natural pork comes from the El Paso Ranch in Hokkaido, Japan. Our lamb is still in the negotiation phase but will likely come from New Zealand or Australia. All 100% nasty-free family farm produce.
What is family farming and what’s different?
Family farms are small-scale, family-owned and operated farms and food producers who have smaller herds or flocks and can, therefore, offer much better conditions and pay more attention to each animal. Slow and natural growth, natural feeding, range free and pasture raising, no use of growth hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics and the high priorities set on animal welfare, ethics, as well as sustainability are the core philosophy of family farming. This all takes a lot of effort, time and human resources making family farm produce much costlier. The exact opposite of factory farming.
What exactly is factory farming?
Without going into traumatic details: factory farms hold large numbers of farm animals, often indoors and windowless, typically at very high densities. The goal of factory farming is to produce large quantities of meat at the lowest possible cost and shortest time. Very often with the help of growth-promoting hormones, antibiotics or steroids. In a nutshell, factory farming is animal farming at extreme industrial efficiency at the cost of the animal’s welfare and the consumer’s health.
What is Japan’s view on factory farming?
Although Japan imports most of its meat, sadly, Japan ranks the lowest amongst all industrialized nations when it comes to animal welfare, mostly due to unawareness. Just recently Japan – the third largest industrial nation – has received a lot of criticism when it announced it won’t be able to offer free-range eggs to the Olympic athletes in 2020.
Is this why you import most of your meat?
One of the reasons. Sadly, due to low demand for ethically raised meat and due to the lack of strict animal welfare regulations, factory farming in Japan is very widely practiced. Put that together with Japan’s scarcity of (pasture) land and you get the picture. Understandably there is simply no monetary incentive for a Japanese farm unless they come up with a premium line or story. We hand-select the family farms that we partner up with and make sure they are fully in line with our philosophy and meet our high-quality standards. And that makes it very difficult for us to find a fitting partner in Japan.
Ethical and sustainable farming is gaining a lot of momentum in the west. Will Horizon Farms be the pioneer in Japan?
Pioneers in spreading the message maybe. Horizon Farms taking over the supermarket’s meat shelves? Certainly no. This is a paradox as we would need to find factory farms to be able to satisfy the demand of the ever-increasing meat consumption in Japan. However, surveys have shown that 70% of Japanese consumers are willing to pay more for healthier, family-farmed organic meat if given the choice. And we are here to offer exactly that; a better and healthier alternative for the conscious carnivore.
Are you planning on adding more products soon?
Absolutely, we have just started. Organic meat and grocery products are being added right as we speak. Our 100% natural sausages made with family-farmed pork from Hokkaido, for example, will be found online and at specialty supermarkets in Tokyo very soon. Other items that will be offered are organic groceries such as bread, tortillas, dips and sauces. In the near future, we will be offering a small selection of dairy products such as milk and cheeses from family farms as well. All products will be 100% in line with our philosophy of course.
How does ordering work?
The easiest and most convenient way is to have our products directly delivered to you. Simply order through our online store (English available) at www.horizonfarms.jp – order by 12 noon on weekdays and you’ll have it delivered the next day earliest.
Use NAGMAG as a coupon code during checkout for a ¥1,000 discount on your first order!