The phrase “Handmade in Portland, Oregon by sandal-wearing, tofu-eating, bike-riders” has adorned the Plywerk website, flyers, and various marketing pieces for years. Although the phrase is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, it was, and still is, an accurate portrayal of Plywerk’s product and the people who make it.
We are very serious about all the components that make up our tagline so we are naturally very excited to announce that we have a new tofu supplier! Since tofu is one of the main power sources of the Plywerk team, it was a top priority to Chef Sean and the lunch department to make sure we were getting the freshest, highest quality, locally-made, family-owned, environmentally conscious bean curd. Chuckle if you must, we care where our tofu is coming from!
Previously, the tofu for our lunches was being purchased from a local grocer who stocked California-made tofu. The tofu was great, it filled our bellies, and California isn’t that far but we discovered we could do better. Enter Ota Tofu!
Kim Ota, the granddaughter of the original founder, is the current manager, and Ota Tofu continues to be family-owned and operated. Earliest records indicate that Ota Tofu has been making fresh tofu in Portland since 1911. Think about it: WWI was still three years away, the majority of Americans used horses as transportation, and the iPhone was 96 years down the road! Ota Tofu even survived when the Ota family was forced into War Relocation Camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor that kicked off WWII... pretty amazing story.
The tofu is made fresh and travels less than a mile where it is thoughtfully prepared at Plywerk HQ, and most importantly, it tastes amazing! Thank you for supporting and following the bike-riding, tofu-eating Portlanders!
-From the countertop of Chef Sean