Shoppers who think a tortilla is a tortilla is a tortilla are becoming fewer and farther in between these days. As consumers become increasingly health-conscious and retailers and foodservice operators look to fresh, artisanal products to add value and differentiate against competitors, the tortilla category is primed, it seems, for a paradigm shift.
I recently had the opportunity to touch base with April Moulaert, Co-Founder of the Vermont Tortilla Company. April and her husband Azur, two food-loving ecologists, started the company in 2015 with an ambitious project. The couple aimed to recreate the flavor of freshly stone-ground tortillas in the northeastern United States, and to do so in a way that was simple, sustainable, and healthy—with a nearly unmatched integrity of ingredients and processes.
“There are only a handful of places in the United States making nixtamalized corn tortillas using 100% locally-sourced certified organic corn with no additives or preservatives. Our product literally has only three ingredients—corn, water, and slaked lime. It is a clean label product that is naturally gluten-free,” April told me, noting the company's commitment to clean. "Simply put, it's all we do! We do not have different lines of tortillas such as an organic and non-organic line. It's all organic and non-GMO and we wouldn't have it any other way since we are mission driven."
Inspired by the local organic foods movement, April and Azur decided to bring the authentic flavors and preparation techniques that they had experienced in Mexico to their local community and the northeast in general.
“The taste was vastly superior. The vast majority of corn tortillas in today's marketplace are made using rehydrated corn flour,” April told me. “The tortillas we had in Mexico were made using an ancient process called nixtamalization. This is the process of getting shelled corn, cooking it with food grade lime, and then stone grinding into a fresh dough that is then made into tortillas. We realized we could find organic corn locally, so it made sense to us to bring stone ground all corn tortillas to the marketplace using locally sourced certified organic corn.”
Currently, the company offers 10 count packs of 6” tortillas and 14 count packs of 4” “street taco” for retail, as well as bulk sizing for foodservice. Vermont Tortilla products are widely available throughout New England—including New York and Boston markets.
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