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Smiling Hara Tempeh

By Heather Kennedy, April 18, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Heather Kennedy

Originating in Indonesia, tempeh (say, “TEM-pay”) is traditionally made through a natural culturing and incubation process that binds soybeans together in a cake form. It’s become increasingly popular in the US over the last several years. 

As a result of its popularity growth, we’ve seen some fantastic local vendors creating tempeh for sale in their regions.  In fact, Smiling Hara Tempeh, located in Asheville, North Carolina, impressed us so much with their delicious product that we recently gave them a Local Producer Loan to help them grow their business and get their product in to more of our stores.

Owners Sarah Yancey and Chad Oliphant started Smiling Hara (which translates to “happy belly”) in 2009 with the intention of providing an organic, unpasteurized and locally sourced tempeh to customers in the Southeast.  In fact, their tempeh contains only three ingredients: beans, distilled vinegar and the live culture Rhizopus Oligusporus. Early on in the business, Sarah and Chad discovered that soy-free tempeh was difficult to find. 

So they created two additional products, Black Bean Tempeh and Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh, to meet the needs of folks who want a vegetarian protein that’s not derived from soybeans. 

These tasty products continue to gain loyal customers!

Sarah and Chad have used their passion for community building, self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship and living a health-conscious lifestyle to build a vibrant enterprise. Not only are the ingredients in Smiling Hara’s products sourced locally whenever possible, but they also use biodegradable packaging and compost all the production waste material on their small farm.

We love working with organizations that believe they are only as strong as the community and environment in which they do business! Smiling Hara Tempeh is available in our stores in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

Even if Smiling Hara not available in your area, you can still enjoy tempeh from your local store with one of Sarah’s favorite recipes:

Tempeh Beet Salad

3/4 lb tempeh

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups shredded beets (you can add carrots as well)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Black pepper and salt to taste

Heat oven to 400°F. Crumble tempeh into a baking dish. Add soy sauce, vinegar and honey and stir well. Bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy.

Mix shredded beets and ginger together. Add baked tempeh, mayonnaise and spices. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and sprinkle your choice of cilantro or parsley over top.

Does tempeh make you smile? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

Category: Local




JT says ...
Dang, I wish we had this in California. Sounds marvelous! I cube, marinate in Bragg's Liquid Aminos, then stir fry.
04/18/2012 8:27:56 PM CDT
Nicki says ...
I live in Asheville and I LOVE this stuff! It's seriously awesome. I just made Buffalo Tempeh with it last night. Yumm.
04/26/2012 11:39:21 PM CDT
Mike says ...
Love this tempeh, such a great local product! Thanks for featuring them.
04/28/2012 12:28:33 PM CDT
Kevin says ...
Chad Oliphant, of Smiling Hara Tempeh has announced that the company was initiating a voluntary recall of all Smiling Hara products out of an abundance of caution. The products in question were manufactured between January 11, and April 11, 2012. This includes all varieties and sizes of tempeh with a Best Buy date of 7/11/12 through 10/25/12. Consumers should not consume the products in question and should return them immediately to the place of purchase for a full refund. Those wishing more information can contact the company at 828.242.1300.
05/01/2012 2:24:37 PM CDT
Sarah Yancey says ...
Thank you everyone for all of the support you have given us. It is because of your support that Smiling Hara will continue. This has been an extremely challenging time for us and we wish to continue serving the Asheville community, as well as the Southeast, and being a part of this powerful local food movement. We are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate every aspect of our production to insure safety and quality in our tempeh. We intend to allow this process all the time necessary. We hold integrity as our highest priority and it is important to us that we know when we return, we have your complete confidence. We truly believe that we have a very special product and, judging by our feedback, we believe you agree. It has been our honor and privilege to serve you for the past two and a half years, and it is our wish to continue doing so for years to come. The level of enthusiasm and loyalty from the community has been deeply moving, and inspires us to keep this dream alive and make it the best it can possibly be. We love Asheville. It is the high level of awareness and integrity of the people who live here that makes it so special. We stand behind Smiling Hara, as you do, with all of our hearts. Thank you all so much for reminding us why we are here. We are working day and night and will let you know as soon as we do when our products will be available again.
05/19/2012 12:28:10 PM CDT
Zanna Carroll says ...
Hi, I would love to purchase your soy free tempeh, I also can't eat gluten. Do you ship to Wisconsin? Thank-you, Zanna
10/21/2012 10:29:34 AM CDT
Meaghan says ...
I bought a package of the black eyed pea tempeh today and it is absolutely delicious! I marinated it for about half an hour in shoyu with a touch of unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, about a 1/3 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil, and some fresh garlic. Then I pan fried it with a little more sesame oil and topped it with some fresh scallions. Just what I had on hand at the time. It was an interesting, quick and amazing compliment to my stir fried veggies and even made my plain brown rice disapear as people searched for hidden tempeh! =p I can't wait to try different marinades, recipes and the other two verities of Smiling Hara tempeh as well! I definitely recommend this product to anyone in an area that sells it.
11/15/2012 3:35:17 AM CST
Stacy says ...
Want this in Miami Beach
03/23/2013 10:37:29 AM CDT
Margaret Howell says ...
Is there any way to order the soy free tempeh in Los Angeles? Thanks! Margaret Howell
04/25/2013 4:26:31 PM CDT
Luna says ...
OMG yay!!! Cannot wait till this is available in the Whole Foods in Davis, California!! I agree with JT marinate with Bragg's liquid, sounds devine!!!
04/29/2013 1:00:37 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MARGARET - Check with your local store. They'll be happy to help you with special ordering!
04/29/2013 3:46:13 PM CDT
Summer White says ...
I'd love for this product to reach our Whole Foods in Los Angeles! Let's get this goodness here!
07/12/2013 11:40:05 PM CDT
Rebecca Pizzuti says ...
Will Whole Foods in Florida carry the soy-free tempeh?
06/17/2014 11:30:40 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@REBECCA - Our exact product options differ between stores. Check with your local store to see if they plan to carry this!
06/17/2014 12:19:44 PM CDT
Jess says ...
Would love to see this in your Princeton, NJ location! I'm a vegan and I'm allergic to soy and so is my Husband so this would be AMAZING to have access to!
06/26/2014 9:42:48 AM CDT
lia says ...
The Princeton NJ Whole Foods will not help me order your product, which is strange because at least one other person is interested in soy-free tempeh. They told me I would have to get permission from the corporate office. How did you convince other Whole Foods to carry your product?
11/06/2014 4:13:44 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LIA - Our buying is done at the regional level while some store locations are approved to buy at the store level. We do not do any buying at the global level since we are decentralized. You can always call the regional office that oversees the Princeton, NJ store and you can find that contact info here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/regional-offices.
11/11/2014 4:38:43 PM CST
helen says ...
Please bring this to Los Angeles.
12/07/2014 9:56:12 PM CST
Barbara says ...
Hello, Is your product in Whole Foods in CT? Thank you kindly, Barbara
05/06/2015 4:14:59 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@BARBARA - Our exact products will differ between stores. Check with the store in CT you plan to shop with to see if they have this in stock.
05/11/2015 5:34:17 PM CDT
irene says ...
Pls sent me your product. How can I get it in ohio? I will market it for you.
05/18/2015 2:48:07 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@IRENE - We have a few store locations in Ohio so I would check to see if your local store sells this or reach out to the vendor directly.
05/18/2015 4:33:04 PM CDT
David says ...
Yet another Los Angeles resident suggesting you bring these products (or other non-soy tempehs) to our region...
10/24/2015 6:16:11 PM CDT