Our starting point
Our relentless search for flavour has led us to our soils. Which, in hindsight, is obvious. Yet when we started it wasn’t our initial motivation. Reason for having our own farm was to be fully autonomous when it comes to our raw materials. Never could we have hoped for all the opportunities that came through that same door.
We are strong believers in the connection between nutritional value and flavour. And looking for nutritional value in our raw materials we finally ended up in the soil. Healthy soils provide us with nutrient dense food. But what makes soil healthy?
A healthy soil depends on the balance between 3 key elements being; microbiology, minerals and organic matter. Once in balance you basically restore the natural power of a soil, allowing it to give what it has to offer.
All our farming principles are built to do just that. You will find out more on this below.
Seeds. The start of life! Sounds a bit bombastic maybe. But it is what it is. For us it has been the start of a journey infused with curiosity. It’s the unknown what makes it so appealing. We’ve basically started challenging the obvious offering which led us to all kinds of institutes. It helped us to test and grow varieties that haven’t seen the light of day for decades or even centuries.
For us it is a work in progress, but it already has a major impact on our decision making. We don’t grow for quantity. We grow for quality. And seed selection plays a significant role. And parallel to that we can play and experiment with new and old varieties.
We need wheat and soy beans for our soy sauce. But the search doesn’t stop there. We try to grow our own sesame seeds, rice, peppers, naked oats and sweet sorghum. All in order to become totally autonomous when it comes to our ingredients. We do not always succeed. We fail (a lot), but it sure helps us to better understand our core process.
Restore and enhance nature
The initial goal was to grow for quality instead of quantity. And it still is. However we’ve learned that when done right… both go hand-in-hand. Our own farming principles are based on an ever evolving body of works. To caption it, we need to refer to the term ‘regenerative organic agriculture’. Which is a set of farming practices that works with nature rather than against it.
Unlike regular ‘organic’ farming where the objective is to do less harm, our goal is to restore and enhance the natural capacity of our soils. This requires a more holistic mindset and a hyper local approach. It’s not suitable (yet) for convenient checklists, audits and certification. Meaning that our customers must rely on our own moral compass.
To make it a bit more practical. There are approximately 20 core practices of regenerative agriculture. We’ve now either implemented or started experimenting with 19 of these principles.
Never not learning
Finally… you’ve made it! All the way down to chapter 4. The actual process of making soy sauce or shoyu. We could settle for a pragmatic explanation on how to make soy sauce. But that’s something you can find on google as well. More important is what we believe is crucial for us making Tomasu Soy Sauce.
We brew our soy sauce with respect to centuries old traditions. However, we learned by trial and error. And by doing so, we’ve ended up making it our own. Some practices will sound familiar, others are just the result of us trying the best we have to offer.
Central in everything we do is listening to our senses. It’s completely done by hand and that’s something that keeps on growing on us. It helps us, step by step, to better understand what is actually happening during the whole process.
Traditional soy sauce brewing involves four main ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt and water. Fermentation is an important part of the process and the longer the soy sauce ferments, the deeper the resulting flavour becomes.
Tomasu soy sauce is fermented and aged, for a minimum of 24 months, in 25- to 50-year-old whisky barrels specially sourced from Scotland’s finest distilleries. Using these barrels as an aging vessel the taste is rather rich and one-of-a-kind.
The last and maybe least tangible part of our product is our attitude. We consider our attitude to be the sum of our interactions with actual human beings. Not constructed, but originated. We strive to be an open platform where we can invite, share and learn with and from each other.
Our product is the result of a creative process. It’s the people that use and work with Tomasu that further develop us and our organization. Whether you are a multiple Michelin star chef, journalist, researcher, student, farmer, artist or hobby enthusiast…. The door is open. We love to share what we have and what we don’t have. It’s those interactions that help us to further develop and fuel our curiosity.
Our strategy is pretty simple. If we like it (a lot), we will do it. And if not, we will politely say no. Meaning we are only limited by our own personal taste and our network. To be honest, this attitude helped us to surround us with a crazy amount of like minded people. And that has been the most gratifying element of our journey.