American cuisine

Tocabe’s virtual pantry promoting Native American cuisine and culture

Tocabe co-owners Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs have launched a virtual pantry, the Tocabe Indigenous Market. Provided.

To bring Native American ingredients and recipes to more people and better support producers during the pandemic, Tocabe co-owners Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs launched a virtual pantry, the Tocabe Native Market. , according to a press release from the company. The platform, which has been in operation since June 14, features at least 40 products from Native American and Native producers, farmers, ranchers and suppliers, including:

The Tocabe menu offers dishes made with shredded bison. Photos by Rache Greiman
  • Fred DuBray (Cheyenne River Lakota bison producer) and Osage Nation Bison Processing: bison steaks, bison ribs
  • Bow & Arrow: Indian corn, blue corn.
  • Indian Muckleshoot Tribe: Blueberries.
  • Navajo Pride Foods: Navajo blue cornmeal, pinto beans, juniper ash.
  • Ramona farms: tparis beans, wheat grains.
  • Red Lake Nation: wild rice.
  • Seka Hills: olive oil and elderberry balsamic vinegar, honey.
  • Ferme Ziibimijwang: maple products including maple sugar.

For Jacobs, a citizen of the Osage Nation, and Chandra, the transition from local restaurateurs to national Indigenous food entrepreneurs was a long-standing goal, accelerated by the global pandemic. After the lockdown orders in March 2020, the duo suspended franchise plans to stabilize their local businesses and prioritize the creation of an online delivery mechanism.

“We are committed to buying as much as possible from native and native producers to help support business and infrastructure development,” Jacobs said in the release. “Customer support keeps aboriginal and aboriginal producers in business, which helps further strengthen health and accessibility to high-quality food across the country. “

The Pantry, which features exclusive items made by Tocabe – Dry Frictions, Blue Corn Porridge Mix, and Blue Cornbread Mix – will expand product availability online this year and eventually feature ready frozen meals. to eat. Recipes and information about each product will share stories about the origins of the ingredients and the cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of those who produce or cultivate it.

Make the difference
One of the main goals of the platform is to help address the issues of food access, food disparity, and food sovereignty faced by many tribes and indigenous peoples in the United States. benefit from :

  • For every two items purchased, Tocabe donates one item to Indigenous and Indigenous community organizations.
  • When customers purchase a 12 assorted pack, Tocabe donates a six assorted pack.
  • The channel will match wholesale and wholesale purchases with a 50% donation. (For example, for a purchase of 500 pounds, Tocabe will donate 250 pounds of food.)

“Thanks to the incredible support of our customers, friends, families and the community at large, we have been able to take this leap with the online marketplace and realize a possible solution to the lingering challenges,” said Chandra. “We designed the Tocabe Indigenous Market to create a cyclical model of community support. Progress and change take many hands, from producers and ranchers to pantries and stoves. Every purchase in the market closes this circle, and we are honored to move this community market, restorative and reciprocal model forward. “

Drawing inspiration from the roots of the Jacobs family in the Osage Nation, Tocabe – founded in 2008 in Denver – aims to help educate people about the culinary innovations of Indigenous communities and increase access to Indigenous culture and traditional knowledge. . Specializing in contemporary Native American cuisine, the menu combines traditional recipes from the Osage family with elements of modern Native American cuisine, according to the release.

Tocabe has two locations in Denver as well as a food truck.