Madge’s Food Company started because of a quest of finding a Tomato Jam and a Special Education Teacher preaching the evils of HFCS and Red Dye #5.
Mike Miller and Jody Miller, husband and wife, found Madge’s Food Company in October of 2014, but the origins started way before. Jody has spent her entire career in Special Education. During her academic study she studied the effects of diet and its effects on learning abilities, especially with those with learning disabilities. This was more than academic but is very close to home. Our own children suffer from ADHD and dyslexia. She became determined that two of the major food additives that exasperated these conditions had to go from our house: HFCS’s and Red Dye #5.
Mike, like a lot of hard-working Texans at the time was working in the oil industry throughout Texas and Louisiana. One day he discovered a Tomato Jam in a small country store driving between jobs, somewhere in rural Texas. It was very exciting and he bragged about how good he remembered his grandmother making it and how fond of this jam he was. After getting home he shared it with Jody, they both excitedly opened the jar to taste. One spoon went in and quickly came out-Yuck! That was NOT grandmother Madge’s Tomato Jam recipe. Jody heard bragging about this jam for 15+ years and finally said, “Let’s make it ourselves.”
We called our family’s, keeper of the secret recipes, and obtained the handwritten recipe. After much deciphering, Madge was never exact, it was a smidgen of this or a pinch of that. But, through trial and error we cracked the code on the recipe. The next day we tried it and it was as if I was instantly transported back in time to Madge’s kitchen spreading this on my toast as a little kid. Eureka! Only one problem Jody quipped, “Why does jam have more sugar than fruit?”
That’s true and was a problem for her. She then set out on how to make it healthier, a slogan we to this day keep asking ourselves, “how can we make this healthier?” After successfully engineering the recipe with reduced sugar we started sampling them to friends and family and became convinced that this was a product that needed to be shared. We then started selling Madge’s Tomato Jam and a couple other of Madge’s pickle recipes on the weekends at local farmer’s markets.
By now you’re reading this and questioning, “but you’re not a jam company? Did Madge also make sauerkraut and kimchi? No, Madge did not ferment any food on purpose. That half of our story comes from our life in Los Angeles. LA a very culturally diverse town with every imaginable type of cuisines just minutes away. When we moved from LA in 2006 we longed for Kosher pickles we would get from our favorite deli’s and our friends home-made kimchi. Add our research about all the health benefits of fermented foods we became obsessed with fermenting everything we could. This was perfect because it energized our mission of making food healthier.
Fast-forward to today, all though we still make product number one, Madge’s Famous Tomato Jam, its only produced in very small quantities. Our obsession took over and now we make vegan kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables-even prickly pear cactus leaves, and fermented tomato juices and mixers. Fermentation makes vegetables more nutritious and delicious.
Now we’ve expanded our mission to disrupt our categories and push the limits of fermented foods and beverages. We look forward to our journey of making an impact on the food chain and bringing our “FERMENT-ILICIOUSNESS” to the world.