By this time, we were frantically busy and our 2nd child Jesse was on the way. The business was now worth something, so we took the plunge and decided to sell, to my sister Sally and her partner Larry. With the proceeds, we set up and imported tofu making machinery from Japan and created our first Soyfoods business; Harvest Soyfoods. During this time we made both tofu and tempeh and in those days a couple of tofu cottage spreads. Over the next couple of years, this grew and grew. By this time we all had young families and together with the business commitment, it was becoming too much. We decided once again to sell up and then pause to see what our next venture should be.
During this period we worked with a friend Austin Holden, for a couple of years who had a wholefood importing business in Glen Eden. His wholesale business was called Kaiora Naturals and he had a small shop in the corner of his warehouse that he called East West Wholefoods selling basically what he imported. We had planned at this stage to think what our next steps would be but decided to go for a more simple job while our children were very young. We sold Harvest Soy Foods to Trevor and Paul Johnson who renamed the business Bean Supreme.
Elizabeth’s Mum, Jean Fowler (aka Granny Jean ‘the Miso Queen’) had also had an illness called Polymyalgia Rheumatica. Before this point, she was taking a lot of cortisone (prednisone) to cope with neck pain and wore a neck brace. In conjunction again with Doctor John Hilton, she started to radically change her diet to a traditional Japanese one, in this case, tofu, rice and veggies every day! She slowly weaned herself off her medication, threw away the neck collar and at the age of 70 gained a new lease on life. It was also during this period that she started making miso at home, right from making the Koji starter through to the finished product, which we then sold in our new shop…….and so she got her name: ‘Granny Jean the Miso Queen’.