Frequently asked questions about Surata SoyFoods Tofu and Tempeh

Which you wish you’d never asked

What’s THAT?

That is tofu and/or tempeh, made by Surata Soyfoods, which is… um, see above.

Why can’t I find Surata products in my store anymore? What happened?

Growing pains is what happened. Demand for Surata products has escalated dramatically in recent months!… yes, you’re right, we could have worse problems, but in this case the rising demand overwhelmed our plant’s production capacity. As we undertake some urgent renovations, we were forced to discontinue sales to one of our distributors, which is why our products have disappeared from some store shelves. Given time and possibly some divine intervention with the city planning office, we’re hoping to complete renovations and be back up to speed by early next year.

So where can I find your tofu and tempeh now?

Click here to find a listing of stores in different parts of the Pacific Northwest where Surata products are either sold or used.

I live outside the Pacific Northwest. Is that a problem?

Depends on where you live instead. Right now, you’re missing out on a lot of forest fire activity and… oh, you mean in terms of finding our products for sale? Yeah, that’s a problem. Our sales are pretty much confined to Oregon-Washington area, partly because we try to limit our carbon footprint and partly because of our limited production capacity (see above).

Some tempeh I got recently had this reddish-orange color in spots. What is it, and is it still okay to eat?

What it is is a major headache, and no, it’s not a good idea to eat it. It appears to be a micro-organism that is often found on soybeans, but for some reason this year it has been aggressively prevalent on some of our soybean shipments. It is ordinarily not toxic, but it is a spoilage organism and will degrade the taste, and perhaps upset more sensitive stomachs. We do our best to cull out the tempeh on which it appears, but sometimes it shows up after the product’s shipped. The organism has not appeared on our more recent soybean shipments, so fingers crossed.

I sometimes find these black spots on the tempeh. Is that a spoiler, too?

No, black spots are a natural part of the tempeh growth process. They usually appear when the tempeh has matured to the point where it starts to sporulate. We arrest its growth at this point, but in some parts of the world, all-black tempeh is considered a delicacy.

Are your products gluten-free?

All Surata tofu and tempehs are gluten free.

Even the Multigrain tempeh?

Even. The ingredients in Multigrain tempeh – soybeans, water, rice, and millet – are all gluten free.

Umm…rice and millet aren’t really grains, you know. So why is it called Multigrain?

Good question. Moving right along…

The answer?

O.K. Back in days of yore, late ‘70’s to be exact, when this product was first developed and the distinction between seeds and grains was a bit fuzzier, ‘Multigrain’ had a sort of cachet that trumped dictionary P.C. At least it sounded better than “Seedy Tempeh” or “Milli-rice Tempeh”. So, who knew from gluten in those days, or how an innocent word like ‘grain’ could get all tangled up with it? If we’d known then what we know… but let’s not go there, too depressing.

Now that you can’t recycle it, I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use. Can Surata?

Would that we could, and the FDA would agree. Packaging options, at least for retail sales, are limited as far as what passes muster for perishable commodities like tofu and tempeh. We’ve been checking into other possibilities, but so far, the cost of using food grade alternatives for a business of our scale is prohibitive.

So, I should just continue throwing Surata tofu containers in the trash?

Not necessarily. Check with your local Waste Management company, which may occasionally hold a ’round up’ of plastics. You can bring in your containers and other plastics with a recycle label of 2, 4, or 5 for purposes of recycling. In Lane County, the next round up will be September 30, 2018 at the Glenwood Transfer Station between 10 AM and 2 PM.

How about the tempeh bags?

The outer tempeh bags are re-sealable, so you could use them in lieu of fresh Ziploc bags. Beyond that, no options other than the trash are available at present. However, if you live in the Eugene/Springfield area, you can check out our “seconds” shop which is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 AM to 5:15 PM. We sell discounted product in bulk, for which you can bring in your own container. It’s one way to cut down on the amount of packaging plastic in your life.

What is the purpose of life?

OK, so maybe this question isn’t so frequently asked, as least not of us, which is just as well, because who knows how many innocent lives could be seriously warped by inadvertent ontological oversight?