Phoenix Organics Amazing Tofu
The Wild Ramp Market makes an effort to identify local farmers and producers that offer a quality food products. This became very apparent to me when I bought some tofu to prepare a recipe I had learned from a Chinese friend. I was pleased to notice that the Spring Creek product was very firm and had no weeping liquid, unlike the tofu I found at the grocery store.
It took a while to plan a trip to Spencer to visit the factory but yesterday I had the chance to meet Bill Quick and see the facility. Like me, Bill is an escapee from New Jersey. Someone he knew invited him to check out Spencer and he started making tofu there in the mid 1980s.
Bill acquires the soybeans from a GMO-free 400-acre farm in Knox County, Ohio where the farmer is proud to report that he last bought seeds in the 1970s. Soaking them overnight, the beans then go through a process where they are injected with steam and essentially processed in a 35 gallon pressure cooker. The extractor, a very noisy machine, then spins and extracts the milk out of the fiber. Bill reports it is similar to making cheese. The pressing takes 54 minutes, after which it is cut into blocks.
Bill said that his process is one that was used prior to newer more mechanized factories. The water method takes longer but it also essentially eliminates all the enzymes that have resulted in negative press about soy.
It is a noisy and wet place. Water is used extensively and the floor is awash with the white “milk” from the soy. The radio playing loudly is often overpowered by the noise of the extractor. Steam rises from the external exhaust periodically. The aroma of tofu was pleasant.
Phoenix Organics produces 20 batches or 1000 pounds of tofu each day of production. Bill said they make tofu two days a week and the other products the other four days. All soy products, his offerings include Italian tofu meat balls,sausage-like, soy based patties, egg-less tofu salad, Italian Seasoned Tofu Burgers, lightly smoked, Garden Veggie Tofu burger, Broccoli, Cauliflower & Sunnies Tofu Burger, tofu burgers with curry and lentils, and five bean tofu chili. The complete line of new products are kosher, wheat/gluten free, vegan, and of certified organic ingredients.
Bill reports that one of the issues he has is distribution. His products are carried in stores in seven states but he would like to expand to more venues. Currently he has 3 employees.
212 East Main Street, Spencer WV
Supporting The Wild Ramp Market means supporting not only a quality fresh food local market in Huntington but also extends to the local producers like Phoenix Organics, as they get 90 cents of every dollar you spend shopping with us. The Kickstarter Fund Raiser has only 7 days to go before the deadline. Please click on the link http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wildramp/ramp-up-the-wild-ramp-a-local-food-market/posts/325708 now to pledge to help us improve our market and continue to find sources for wonderful healthy food options for you.