Saturday, April 19, 2014
The Maine-made tempeh universe is expanding. Lalibela Farm is now offering a third variety of tempeh and this one is made with organic Jacob's cattle beans grown right here in Maine. A fermented bean product, tempeh is a staple food of Indonesia, and in the U.S. it's a favorite with fermentation enthusiasts, folks who follow a vegetarian diet and people looking to eat more plant-based meals.
The organic farm, run by Jamie and Andy Berhanu, is located in Bowdoinham and has been selling tempeh since 2009. (This column I wrote in 2009 talks about how the tempeh is made.) Tempeh is traditionally created with soybeans, and the original variety of Lalibela Farm tempeh is made with soybeans. It's second variety is made with black beans.
The new variety has only three ingredients: Maine grown organic Jacob's cattle beans, tempeh culture and organic apple cider vinegar. Jacob's cattle beans are an heirloom variety with a long history in Maine.
Each 8 ounce package sells for $3.75, and you can buy it directly from the farmers at the Portland Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The tempeh is distributed by Crown O'Maine Organic Cooperative, which means that many health food stores, local markets and buying clubs should be stocking it soon, if they haven't already.
The Jacob's cattle bean tempeh can be prepared just like soybean tempeh. For inspiration, check out these tempeh recipes on the Lalibela Farm website.
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.