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, compounded by COVID, is what happened. Demand for Surata products has been escalating dramatically over the past couple of years, and yes, we could have worse problems, but in this case the rising demand overwhelmed our plant’s production capacity. As we began to undertake some urgent renovations, we were forced to discontinue sales to one of our distributors, which is why our products disappeared from some store shelves.  Then the pandemic hit, and like many businesses we experienced labor shortages, which forced us to scale back production. Even more impactful have been the supply-chain issues; we import our organic soybeans from the mid-west or from Canada, and the shortage of delivery trucks and drivers have caused significant delays in maintaining a stockpile of our prime ingredient.

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’ve missed out on a lot of forest fires, drought, 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 an ordinarily harmless micro-organism that is often found on soybeans, but on some of our soybean shipments it has developed an attitude and become aggressively prevalent. 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 some spotting can slip through.  Consider, though:  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.

I sometimes visit your seconds’ shop that’s open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-5:15, only to find that you’re out of tofu or tempeh. Is there a way I can find out in advance whether it’s worth coming in?

Yes there is.  Email us at soysurata@gmail.com and request that we put your email address on the notice we will send out to potential customers if there’s a shortage of product, or if we’re having a sale, or for some other reason that might help you decide if it’s worth the trip.

 I’m trying to reduce the amount of plastic I use. Can I recycle Surata’s tofu packages?

If you live within the Eugene-Springfield area, you can!  Bring your used containers to Surata’s storefront on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays between 11 AM and 5:15 PM.  Make sure the film on the top edges of the package is completely removed – best way to do that is to trim off the edge of the package.  We’ll hold onto the containers until we can make arrangements with the local recycling maven to take them off our hands. .

I don’t live near you guys.  Should I 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. Again, make sure the film on the top edges of the tofu packages is trimmed off.

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 an inadvertent ontological oversight?