Ethiopia Sourcing: Sesame Seeds Edition

By: Shelby  |  April 6, 2017

A Facebook memory popped up in my feed. Five years ago, Jackie, Amy, Omri, Dan and I ventured to Ethiopia for the first official Soom Foods trip.

I shared my personal reflections in a February blog post, but also wanted to also discuss the importance of this trip for Soom Foods.

When we started learning about tahini and conducting our market research, a major theme that kept emerging was the (lack of) source of the sesame seeds. Other US brands did not talk about the source! Where did their sesame seeds come from? In general, where are sesame seeds grown?

And why were so many tahini manufacturers turning to Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds? Why was this particular varietal of sesame seed from this particular region so good for making tahini?

So we took a trip to Ethiopia together to meet the people, see the land, and try to better understand the sesame landscape in Ethiopia.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, it was an eye opening trip. I had never been to Africa before. I had never seen landscape like that before. I had never experienced such poverty before…

For Soom Foods, it affirmed the importance of sharing the origins of our sesame seeds. Even though in 2013 the market was (and still is!) learning that tahini is made from 100% sesame seeds, at Soom Foods we believe that acknowledging the source is extremely important.

This information connects the end consumer with the beautiful process of growing, nurturing and harvesting this incredible agricultural product. It connects the end consumer with the land & with the people.   And this information empowers the end consumer with the knowledge and/or the desire to learn more about where his/her food is coming from.

At Soom Foods we are still learning about the nuances of difference types of sesame seeds, and what makes certain varietals from certain places better for making tahini. We often liken it to coffee, or wine! Depending on the type of bean/grape, where that bean/grape is grown, and how that bean/grape is processed – coffee and wine has VERY different tastes, notes, consistencies…

Same too with tahini.

We are committed to sharing as much information with you as possible about our tahini – where it comes from, how it is made, etc… If you ever have a question, don’t hesitate to ask And if we don’t immediately know the answer, we will always get back to you.

Knowledge is Power. The more you know!