I want as many people as possible to enjoy truly fresh fish.
Uo Ikka Co., Ltd.
- Tetsuo Suzuki
Ainan Town lies on the Uwakai Sea, Ehime Prefecture’s most beautiful sea, and the town is renowned for its thriving fishing industry. Tetsuo Suzuki, born and bred here, is a true son of Ainan. His grandfather founded a fishing firm called Iyo Suzuki Suisan, and this passed down to Suzuki-san’s father, and then to him. The firm and its processing plant were reborn as Uo Ikka in 2016.
When the catch is landed twice daily at Fuku-ura Fishing Port, Suzuki-san goes there to stock up. They say he can judge the quality of the fish with a single glance. “Are their pupils clear? Is the color fresh? Have their bodies been scratched or chafed? I check all these things, and I only buy what I’m satisfied with. I get really excited when I come across a catch of good fish,” he says, eyes sparkling.
Most of the marine products that Uo Ikka stocks are non-farmed and natural, with Ainan Town’s specialty products such as bonito and threeline grunt first and foremost. After processing, the products are shipped mainly to restaurants in the Shikoku and Kansai areas. Suzuki-san takes pleasure in the technical aspects of his work, like deciding how finely a fish is to be sliced depending on how it’s going to be cooked, and choosing whether it should be preserved by freezing or in a vacuum pack. The most popular product of all, katsuo no tataki (lightly grilled bonito) is briefly grilled on its surface only over a straw fire, and then rapid-frozen to capture all the freshness and umami flavor. This product can hold its flavor for an astonishing 90 days or so after freezing.
“The quality of the seawater off Ainan Town is just fantastic. There are fish you can only catch here, and I want as many people as possible to discover just how good they taste,” says Suzuki-san. Going forward, he’s planning to expand sales to supermarkets and the local Michi no Eki roadside sales stop, and he also intends to expand online. So this is a farm to watch out for!
- [ Uo Ikka Co., Ltd. ]
- 28-3 Misho Hirajo, Minamiuwa-gun, Ainan-cho, Ehime Prefecture