What’s not to love about corn tortillas? They’re naturally gluten free, slightly sweet, mild in flavor, and an adequate amount of complex carbohydrate. They’re the perfect vehicle for just about anything. But let’s get one thing straight – not all corn tortillas are created equal.
What On Earth Is In My Corn Tortillas?
Corn tortillas are one of those things that seem simple enough…corn, water, maybe some lime, smush it all together and get a splendid treat. Have you looked at the ingredient statement on those you generally find at the grocery store lately? It probably looks something like this:
Riddled with gums, acids, and colors, these are the deceptive kind of tortillas; you know, they’re the kind that make you think you’re eating something clean and healthy, but you’re really not.
A Not-So-New Kind Of Tortilla
Jorge Sousa and his wife, Dora Saravia, owned and operated a restaurant in Hadley, Massachusetts for years until one day a tragedy struck; an adjacent laundromat caught fire and destroyed a strip of small businesses including their restaurant. About 4 months prior to this incidence, Jorge went to Mexico to purchase an authentic tortilla making machine. This new equipment, though destroyed in the fire, marked the beginnings of Mi Tierra Tortilla, a business focused on making clean, limited ingredient, no preservatives, high quality tortillas.
Rising From The Ashes
Before the fire, Jorge and his business partner, Michael Doctor, knew they were onto something with these tortillas. They already made commitments to local farmers and their corn crops, and had a full staff from the restaurant needing work, so they made tortillas by hand all winter long and sold them at farmers’ markets. They were quite popular within the community, so they purchased a second tortilla making machine from California and launched at a larger scale.
When you ask Michael what makes these tortillas special he says they use a traditional process, cooking the corn in water with limestone, washing off the outer layer corn, grinding that wet and making masa, forming the tortillas, and then baking. They spend a lot of time picking the right non-GMO corn varieties and because they don’t contain any preservatives, the tortillas have a ten day shelf life, a challenge they worked hard to overcome.
Michael, having spent his professional life in the local food movement, is committed to getting food to people that is simple, clean, and healthy. He explained how we need to reorganize our food system to prioritize local food and positively impact global warming. With transportation being one of the biggest contributors of carbon in our environment eating local, creates huge impact. Given that New England is greatly suited to growing corn, these tortillas are a great way to start.
You can currently sample Mi Tierra Tortilla’s Organic Corn Tortillas in the following dishes from The Foodery:
- Pork Carnitas
- Barbacoa Tacos
- King Ranch Chicken
To learn more about Mi Tierra, including where to purchase in local stores, check out their website here: http://www.mitierratortillas.com/