Clearing the Path For the Stinky, Sticky, Beloved Superfood of Japan: NYrture Natto | food. curated.
- Clearing the Path For the Stinky, Sticky, Beloved Superfood of Japan: NYrture Natto | food. curated.
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Meet Ann Yonetani, the founder/owner and microbiologist behind NYrture New York Natto, an artisanal Japanese natto maker located in Brooklyn, NY. If there's one thing that gets Ann excited, it's bacteria. Ask her about it and her face lights up, she adjusts her glasses, her body settles more comfortably in her chair. She could talk for hours about the microbial worlds that symbiotically live inside us and all around us, a passion that both challenges and fascinates her. Not surprisingly, Ann sees herself as a bacteria farmer more than a natto maker (a distinction I find endlessly charming). By cultivating a healthy environment for growing good bacteria, her soybeans actively ferment into the superfood Japanese call: natto. A food jam-packed with nutrients and health/wellness benefits. This is where her evangelism begins.
To Ann's knowledge, only 3-4 small companies make natto in America, a very tiny market compared to Japan where natto is ubiquitous. Walk into any supermarket or corner store in Japan, you'll easily find over a dozen options for natto. It's a savory morning ritual there, traditionally eaten over warm rice often mixed with soy sauce or a raw egg and scallions. "A power breakfast food," Ann explains "their version of a protein shake or acai bowl." But unfortunately, in America, natto has little exposure. It hasn't reached the popularity of Japanese ramen or sushi. Ann wants to change that.
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