6/17/2019, The Food Business Incubator That Helps Immigrant Women Pursue The American Dream

   

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Mariko Grady, Aedan Fermented Foods

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At La Cocina, you can often hear Mariko Grady singing or humming as she prepares miso, koji, and amasake. Her fermented products comes in four different flavors, including mushroom and chicken, to be used in soups and sauces.

She originally brought the fermenting rice and Barley koji seeds from Japan, where she had a 30-year career as a singer and dancer with the prestigious modern theatrical dance group she founded, Pappa Tarahumara.

They performed around the world, and 16 years ago, had a one-night show in San Francisco. The man who would become her husband was in the audience. She soon joined him in San Francisco, often returning to Tokyo to rehearse. But after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, her company disbanded.

"It was very difficult to get enough money from the government, " she says, "and every member of the company decided to reset their life." Grady focused on nourishing her family and creating a line of fermented products that she sells online, at local Bay Area stores and at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. She began at La Cocina in 2012 and named her business after her son, Aedon.

(Written in Kanji characters, the name means "wisdom" and "handed down from generation to generation.") Grady says she listens to her body carefully – both when to perform and when to make miso. Her fermented products are "also full of wisdom about how to relate to nature and how to create a healthy life," she says.

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