Looking for fresh tofu? Look no further than the name. SAGE supplier Fresh Tofu, Inc., located in Allentown, PA, has stayed true to its values of freshness and quality for more than three decades since it was founded in 1983. Their signature (and only) firm-style tofu is fresh, local, organic, vegan, kosher, and even GMO-free. Owner Gary Abramowitz and his team made tofu by hand for a full decade before mechanizing the process with equipment specially designed to imitate each step of their unique hand-making process.
Fresh Tofu, Inc. churns out between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of tofu a day. The process starts with whole organic soybeans shipped from a group of farmers in upstate New York. The beans are soaked overnight, ground into a slurry, and cooked. The slurry is separated into okara and soy milk. Their fluffy chaff, or okara, is donated to local organic dairy farmers to be used as a nutrient-dense, high-protein organic feed. The soy milk is redirected into a separate chamber, where it’s coagulated using nagari, a mineral-rich seawater derivative from Japan. The soy milk forms curds and whey. After the whey is drained off, the curds are collected in a cheesecloth-lined forming box, at which point they’re pressed for half an hour. They're then cut and chilled in cold water until the soft, hot tofu is firm and cool enough to package. This process results in one type of tofu, a traditional Japanese-style firmness that’s incredibly versatile—it’s great for frying, baking, and salads.
In mechanizing their process to meet demand, they modified their equipment to replicate as closely as possible what they formerly did by hand. According to Abramowitz, that experience gives their tofu a real advantage: “Other companies are much more automated, not as hands-on. Our tofu has an edge because we designed this system and monitor it closely to get the kind of curd we want.” The energy and attention they devote to creating their local, organic product have attracted a fiercely loyal customer base. As Abramowitz says, “It’s a small, family-run business. We’ve never done any advertising. It’s always been word of mouth.”
SAGE is glad to continue that tradition by spreading the word about Fresh Tofu, Inc. We’re proud to purchase from a small manufacturer whose values align with our own—sourcing local foods, creating custom technology, making fresh products from scratch, and offering a variety of substantial vegetarian options. If you’re ever in Philadelphia, be sure to stop by our SAGE Dining Hall at Moore College of Art and Design to try some yourself. This month alone, we’re serving it seven different ways: Scrambled Tofu, Dragon Tofu, Tandoori Tofu, Grilled Tofu with Spinach, Mediterranean Tofu, Breaded Dijon Tofu, and Thai-Style Tofu with Green Beans. Go ahead, get in line!