When Aid to Artisans Mexico initially scouted the Yucatan Peninsula region to locate communities/towns interested in collaborating with our organization, the outstanding relationship between food, culture, and economy in this region was evident. Located in the south of Mexico, the Peninsula is a proud Mayan territory, with artisanal and food practices that date back hundreds of years. Famous for their great culinary skills, flavor combinations, and food transformation, they are recognized for the production and cultivation of farm products such as fruit, vegetables, honey, and certain legumes and seeds.
Interested in the cultural bond between artisanal products and food, the first food initiative of Aid to Artisans’ came to life under the “Manos Vivas” project funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation Mexico. The objective of “Manos Vivas” is to improve the livelihoods of artisans in Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula through a methodology based on human and product development, development of financial skills, and increased income through sustainable artisan businesses.
Tamula, the name of this unique gourmet food initiative, is led by Aid to Artisans Mexico in partnership with International Artisanal Food Expert and Global Handmade Lifestyle Curator, Founder of Ahmesa, Dondrill Glover and Carlos Ponce de León from Ethics Foods has been years in the making. Its name (Tamula) comes from the action word Tamular which is the act of grinding ingredients with a stone pestle on a “molcajete” – a handmade mortar made of stone – a technique used in Mexico since ancient times.
Utilizing traditional techniques and locally grown raw materials, the groups of food producers, comprised mostly of women, have developed several product lines of fruit marmalades, Peninsula specific honeys, nut butters, and salsa sauces. Aid to Artisans’ involvement in the project focuses on providing guidance for best manufacturing practices, such as quality and consistency of product, safe production, health and food regulations (for national and international markets), new recipe development, and lastly market access. The latter is one of the key objectives, as it aligns with the organization and project’s mission of improving the livelihood of the participants’ families and the overall community.
Through these years of collaboration +14 products, including tweaks on original recipes and brand new recipes, have been developed to cater to the national/international gourmet markets under the Tamula brand. All are handmade by the three groups and 35+ food producers that are currently involved in this initiative.
The results of Tamula have been outstanding, rich in both flavor and tradition. Exotic blends like the papaya and habanero sauce, the mango, pineapple, and habanero marmalade, novelty nut butters, and local honey are some of the line’s products that are ready for market. Under the wing of Manos Vivas, Tamula has successfully attended two gourmet food trade shows in Mexico and is launching internationally next month during the 2022 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.
To aid with sales and distribution, Aid to Artisans has partnered with Ahmesa and Ethics Foods, two companies focused on ethically made and locally sourced gourmet food products, and experts in national and international markets.
Ahmesa – Dondrill Glover
firstname.lastname@example.org / @ahmesatothetable
Ethics Foods – Carlos Ponce de Leon (México Market Distribution)
email@example.com / @ethicsfoods