Jovial: A lifetime getting here.

Experiencing the loss of both parents to cancer at a young age led me to a personal and professional interest in organic foods. A little struggle of my own with this disease drove me to a deeper understanding of how essential food is to wellness. Having children with food allergies made me go beyond organic to question how a healthy organic diet could still be a source of illness.

These life lessons were experienced in the company of my Italian-born husband Rodolfo, after we met in Bologna when I turned twenty. He had experienced similar lessons in life and we had the same interests. His personal passion for farming led us to realize that the most vital starting part of the food chain was in distress.

The Disappearance of Traditional Food Varieties

A trip to Italy as a teen introduced my American taste buds to heirloom foods. It was the first spoonful of a homemade apricot jam, made from the fruit of an age-old tree that spoke to me in a profound way. On that same beloved trip, I plucked fresh figs from a giant tree and their once in a lifetime flavor mesmerized me. Tasting this fruit was firsthand experience of nature’s masterly crafted offerings, perfectly engineered for the lucky few who were smart enough to simply honor and not meddle with them.

Fast forward some twenty years and I am feeling profound disappointment over the selection of apples in my local organic supermarket in Italy. Surrounded by the choice of good looking Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, and Fuji on the outside, yet fully aware I am bringing home sheer tastelessness on the inside. How could this be? I fled the United States for flavor and here I was faced with the same varieties of displeasing apples all over again. What had Italian farmers done with the crisp, tart and juicy varieties of their ancestors?

Have you ever heard that the banana risks extinction? I never would have imagined there is only one commercial variety grown throughout the world which goes by the name of Cavendish. The same banana is grown and eaten worldwide. This variety is being wiped out by a fast-growing fungus and a back-up variety was never developed. Banana seeds were bred out because they were big and hard so it may take too long to procure a replacement if the fungus isn’t managed first.

Many informed consumers oppose Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), but few of us ponder the detriment that plant breeding has had on our food. Naturally bred hybrid plant varieties accomplished much, transforming a pale little clump of wild carrot into a long cylinder of bright orange. I once tried to grow a strictly heirloom garden and realized the varieties are not always easy to cultivate and yields can be low. However, the mission of plant breeders went astray a few decades ago as they concentrated on developing new varieties for commercial reasons only, varieties that could withstand mechanical harvesting, transportation and months of storage. Flavor equals nutrition so as the new varieties lost flavor they also lost nutrients.

The Jovial Difference-From Seed to Shelf

As we developed the Jovial brand, we decided it was time to go beyond organic and take a closer look to find the purest of plant varieties. This led us to the exciting rediscovery of einkorn, the most ancient wheat of all, and a clear vision of what our future would be.

Jovial had its official start in 2010, but was idealized for many years. It is our dream to change the future of agriculture by creating consumer demand for ancient and heirloom varieties of food. We have a deep commitment to support a small-scale, sustainable economic model that focuses on farming first and then considers the entire process all the way through to the shelf. We believe the purest food we all are all seeking can only come from the purest seed.

Join our journey to harvest health from history and feel Jovial about your food again.