Califonia Bountiful

Tumaro's tortillas

Just outside of Los Angeles is where you'll find Tumaro's, a company that is re-inventing the way we eat tortillas.

Just outside of Los Angeles is where you'll find Tumaro's, a company that is re-inventing the way we eat tortillas. In 1994 the Jacobs family took over the Tumaro's corporation, hoping to use their background in the health food market to expand on this already successful company and to make a real niche for their unique product.

The Jacobs family originally owned Hain Pure Foods and Hollywood Foods, the pioneer distributor of safflower oil. After owning both companies for many years, the family eventually sold them and were looking for another endeavor in the food industry to conquer. They came across the Tumaro's company, which was the first company to make all-natural frozen, vegetarian Mexican food, such as burritos, tamales and enchiladas.

The idea of lightening up Mexican food was appealing, but they had one problem: They didn't like the way the tortilla tasted and they knew they had to change that in order to find success. So they experimented by adding honey, which made the tortillas more pliable and helped the taste as well. So then they thought, "Why not make different flavors?" The rest, as they say, is history.

The wide variety of tortilla flavors that Tumaro's has resulted in the company becoming the best-selling gourmet flavored tortilla manufacturer in the country. They have 17 varieties, everything from garden spinach to Southwest chili. In addition, they have a line of restaurant dessert wraps that include chocolate, pineapple and blueberry flavors. These colorful, gourmet treats have no lard or cholesterol in them, are low fat and are the only tortillas endorsed by the American Heart Association.

Sales at Tumaro's are expected to skyrocket. And the accolades and success continue to roll in. The tortilla that started it all, their honey-wheat flavored tortilla, was named as the best-flavored tortilla by Men's Health Magazine in 2003. The industry as a whole is seeing tremendous growth as well. There are now over 2500 tortilla manufacturers in the country, and Tumaro's ranks as the sixth most popular brand. In addition, tortillas trail only white bread as America's most popular bread item and consumers will enjoy nearly 1 billion tortillas this year. But at Tumaro's, they aren't just selling tortillas; they say they're selling a lifestyle, a healthy one, that includes Mexican food.

Here's one of Tumaro's famous wrap recipes using their tortillas. For more recipes like this one, go to Tumaro's Web site.

California Roll Wrap
4 8-inch Tumaro's premium white, jalapeno and cilantro or honey wheat gourmet tortillas
2 cups white rice, cooked and cooled
1 cup crab meat
1 cup avocado, 1/4-inch chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, 1/4-inch chopped
1/2 cup green onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
2 teaspoons wasabi pate
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar

Combine rice, avocado, cucumber, green onion and crab meat. Blend well. Whisk together fat-free mayonnaise, wasabi paste, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add dressing mixture to rice mixture. Toss to blend. Place about 1 cup of mixture into each tortilla. Roll lightly, slice into 2-inch slices and serve.

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