A Smashed Plantain Tortilla
By Garry, Farm2Me
Photos: Courtesy of Garry, Farm2Me
Plantain—a versatile fruit that Positively Plantain uses to create tortillas—is the innovative “secret” product of the year. This gluten-free, allergy-free tortilla, originated by this 10-month-old startup founded by Deanna McCraw, is an incredible idea. In a year where plant-based alternative food products are the hottest innovations, we see Positively Plantain as a leading player in the space.
The founder’s plant-based, gluten-free background developed in college, when she tried to transition to a plant-focused and grain-free diet. This helped lessen her migraines and other symptoms that were bothering her. She searched grocery stores, looking for wheat, grain and corn alternatives that were gluten-free—but she discovered that gluten-free did not always mean more nutritious; these products often included the same old things like corn, potatoes, oats, coconut flour, pea flour and beans.
Whole Ingredients Versus Flour. The great thing about using whole ingredients is the fact that the nutrients in the plants work synergistically, meaning you are absorbing nutrients readily available in the plant.
In 2010, while traveling in Africa and Central America, Deanna became very familiar with plantains, a ubiquitous plant in these parts of the world. By 2015, she was playing around with a simple, whole-ingredient product. She didn’t want to work with the flour form, so she stuck to the whole plantain. Fast-forward to 2017: while home for Christmas with friends and family, Deanna introduced Positively Plantain tortillas to this select group, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them.
She realized that no one in the U.S. was producing a plantain-based tortilla and that plant-based tacos, wraps and flatbreads would change the way that Americans consumed their meals. It was really important to Deanna that they produce a product that was delicious and substantial like a traditional tortilla—with the same pliability of a flour tortilla but with the sturdiness of a corn tortilla.
In 2018, they launched at a local farmers’ market and received great feedback. Customers came back, purchasing two-packs, four-packs and six-packs within the first few weeks of sales. People with allergies and celiac disease, the typical picky child or anyone who wanted an alternative to corn, nuts and oats loved them! They especially liked that they do not have to force-feed themselves a healthy alternative, and they now have a food dedicated to their needs that tastes really good!
You can find Positively Plantain in NY, CO, MO and CA. Email your local stores to get them to carry this growing product in your neighborhood—and thanks for supporting small-batch producers!