Given the fact that it’s been below freezing all day long, Matt and I sure spent a lot of time outside!!
I didn’t feel like going to the gym today – I wanted a more natural workout (didn’t know how cold it was at this point!) So Matt and I drove to the Monticello Trail and hiked 4.2 miles in 68 minutes. We kept a swift 16 min mile pace just to keep warm!
After quick showers and a few nuts to tide hunger, we were on our way to Twin Oaks.
Matt and I have been loving Twin Oaks Tofu since we moved here. It’s thick, spongy, needs no draining, and the herby flavors have herbs embedded inside – so much flavor!
Here are some of the dinners we have made with it:
So when I was visiting Whole Foods a few weeks ago, I met Benji, the marketing director of Twin Oaks, and he invited me out for a tour of the community to see where the cubed gold is made. [He also loved that I had “tofu” written on my grocery list ; ) ]
The Twin Oaks Intentional Community is a community built around values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology. Founded in 1967, the commune now has about 100 members and is economically self-supporting through the sale of hand-made hammocks and TOFU [among a few other trades.] You can read more about the Twin Oaks way of life on the website.
Our tour took across the farm and through the organic gardens, greenhouse, dairy, chickens, tofu facility, dining hall, common areas, and a glimpse into the private living areas.
But our tour began with a lunch!
A bowl of a DELICIOUS Tofu + Daikon Radish Soup – with the most amazing broth I have ever tasted! Benji said he thought there was brown sugar involved… 🙂
We also enjoyed a tasting plate of beans, rice, salad and stir fry. So warming to know that everything (mostly) was grown organically on site!
Warming up by the fire
All of the buildings at Twin Oaks are heated with wood fires
We first toured the gardens, all organically grown, and the greenhouse, which had lettuces so beautiful I could hardly stand not to pick leaves and taste them right then and there!
We visited the dairy – which produces many [many!] gallons of milk per day that is consumed or turned into yogurt or cheese
And we played with the sweetest, friendliest calves I’ve ever met!
Next up were the chick-a-dees, where we found an egg!
This guy was keeping warm in what looked to be an oven!
We weren’t allowed to photograph inside the tofu factory, but know that they produce 11,000 pounds of organic non-GMO tofu A DAY!!! We donned hairnets and stepped inside to see the machines at work. They are planning to expand the facility by 100 feet – tofu demand is growing! And they make some damn good tofu! FYI, you can see where it’s available here – many locations on the East Coast and as far west as Chicago.
The hammock business is huge – they used to supply to Pier 1 for years [until Pier 1 sadly looked over seas for cheaper hammocks : ( ]
I swang in the chair swing and must say it was the most comfortable tree swing ever!
Lots of solar power going on!
We toured a few of the buildings
Including the dining hall where we tasted fresh milk
Ever seen a real, live may pole!? They have a huge May Day festival and this pole is huge!
Benji sent us home with a stock to last through the winter, including flavors from the More Than Tofu line such as Indian Masala and Peanut Ginger! Can’t wait to get busy in the kitchen with these!
The scenery at Twin Oaks is just stunning – even on a frigid winter day!
I love learning about new things, new ways of life, making new friends, and today was such fun. I’m so glad I now know the life behind the Twin Oaks Tofu made down the road.
Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) says
Wow, what an incredible day! It looks beautiful! Makes me sad I can’t have tofu.
Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine says
This is so cool!! I love tofu, so from a fellow aficionado, it’s good to know that this brand is good. Those calves are adorable too!
Stacy @ Every Little Thing says
I am so so jealous! What an awesome farm. I will have to look for a local tofu farm! This post excites me 🙂
mindy @ just a one girl revolution. says
What a fascinating place! I’m jealous!
Estela @ Weekly Bite says
What an amazing day!! I love the pic with all the boots hanging on the wall!
Valerie @ City|Life|Eats says
I adore Twin Oaks tofu (it is sold at Whole Foods in Washington, DC so to me it is still local) and I love this post and learning more about Twin Oaks 🙂
Katy (The Singing Runner) says
How fun! Looks like you had a great day!
I’m sad that for so many years I gave tofu a bad name. Now I love it! 🙂
Gabriella @ Embracement says
Looks so fun. And all that tofu you brought home, I’m sure you’ll have even more fun with.
[email protected] says
I am so jealous of your tofu bounty! What a kickass community they have going on!!
Jessica @ How Sweet It Is says
Albeit cold, it looks like a a beautiful day!
Ahh! That looks like so much fun!
faith @ gracefulfitness says
Ah man, that looks like a great day! I haven’t been to Twin Oaks since I was a kid (my dad used to have friends that lived there).
I just pulled some baked Twin Oaks tofu out of the oven, yum…
Due to one of your past posts I made a point to purchase Twin Oaks Tofu while I was in Richmond over Halloween (lotta p’s in that sentence). We made a night of it, my two cousins and I, of experimenting in the kitchen. Almost burned down my aunt’s neighborhood, but hey, it was worth it to taste the tofu. Thanks for the recommendation!
Amanda (Eating Up) says
What a cool experience! That tofu supply sounds amazing!
Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! says
This looks like such an amazing day and a really wonderful company. You look like a model for Home and Garden hangin’ out in that swing! I love your pea coat and brown boots. I hope I can find Twin Oaks tofu in San Francisco–I’ll start the search tonight!
What an awesome experience! I’m a bit jealous you went home with so much tofu! 🙂
Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness) says
VERY cool! I’m going to look them up and see if any stores here in Fredericksburg carry their tofu. I love the whole concept of Twin Oaks! Virginia is awesome. 😉
I heart being a Virginian too!!
What a fun day! At least the sun was shining.
How long will that tofu last?
I mean, when do you have to eat it by before it goes bad?
The exp. date is 2/24 on the packages I got today
Ooo the Indian Masala tofu sounds yummy!
Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) says
Looks like such a fun, interesting day! Thanks for sharing!
Katie O. says
Wow…so much fun! That would be my ideal day. I really admire these folks and their healthy, productive, peaceful & earth friendly lifestyle. What a treat for you!
Heather (Heather's Dish) says
what an awesome tour! i love the shot of the boots hanging 🙂
That sounds SO fun!!! I love soups with big hunks of raw tofu on them for some reason. I really like the smooth texture.
I’m a total tofu virgin (seriously, I’ve always been too concerned with the texture I’ve heard it has). Advice? How do you slowly break in? My husband and I are toying around with the idea of eating vegetarian next month (just to see how it goes) and I’d like to be ready with a meat alternative.
There is absolutely nothing weird or unique about tofu – just eat it! It’s just like eating a new vegetable or bean. Roasting is the best method of cooking for newbies.
All right, all right 🙂
I never was a huge tofu fan (even tho I admit TO tofu is the best!). But the two ways I’ve found that are easy on those who dont like tofu yet are 1. deep-fry some and put it in a stir fry (I fry in 2 batches in the bottom of the wok, turning once, until lightly browned) and for a more extravagant meal, look up ‘mushroom tofu stroganoff’ – there are several versions and all yummy. Basically, fried tofu and lots of mixed mushrooms and onions and broth and (dry) red wine and (soy) sour cream . . . . delish!
Stir fry sounds like it might be a good option. Thanks!
Kate S. says
What I’d recommend is to bread the tofu with a mix of 1 T. cornmeal to 3 T. cornstarch–just cube the tofu, then drop it in the bowl with the above mixture and coat all sides. Then saute in a little bit of oil, browning on all sides. Remove it, place it on a place, cook your stir fry vegetables, add the tofu back in, dump in your stir-fry sauce and simmer it until it’s done. This is my favorite method! Gives it an almost deep-fried texture without having to deep fry.
What a fun day. Communal life has always fascinated me.
GREAT post Kath. This farm is pretty much my idea of heaven; it looks like they take wonderful care of their animals as well as producing awesome tofu.
I lived in England until I was 10 and took part in many May day festivities including dancing around the May pole.
So cool! I am a huge fan of More Than Tofu!
Blog is the New Black says
So fun! Love that chair swing!
this was such a great post. totally inspired me to search out this brand and support this company. power of the internet/your blog. cant wait to see what recipes you and matt cook up with the new flavors. thanks for sharing.
Heather @ Side of Sneakers says
What a cool day! And yummy sounding tofu 😉
Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate says
Wow, this looks fantastic! I will definitely have to check their tofu out!
Amy at TheSceneFromMe says
I love the way they hang their boots up to dry out! And a real wood burning fireplace beats a gas one anyday!
I read about Twin Oaks many years ago online…so cool that you guys actually visited!
Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life says
What a cool place to visit! I love how rustic everything is!
I’ve been really into tofu at school lately. Do you put any upper limit on your soy intake? (I haven’t done any real reading on the topic, just seen headlines about ‘dangers’ of excessive soy).
I took a utopian communities class last semester–Twin Oaks is pretty neat. Very high turnover rate. My ancestors created an economically independent feminist community in rural Texas in the 1800s. They were all married and ditched their husbands!
Cool about the communities class!
I eat soy products a few times a week, and I definitely avoid soy protein isolates in processed food when I can (I won’t buy it but I will eat it if I’m served it). Whole soy is safe to me.
Krista (kristastes) says
Neat little trip and fun to see another way of life!! I love tofu with flavor packed inside! 🙂
Sassy Molassy says
I love that green jacket of yours! Where is it from?
Benji from Twin Oaks Tofu says
So many great pictures and comments! Thanks for coming out to our little farm, Kath and Matt. I had a great time showing you guys what makes our place so special to all of the people that live and work here. For anyone that has questions about availability, please email [email protected] or me, [email protected]. Also, please check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TwinOaksTofu.
Thanks so much for having us!
Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg says
How COOL!!! I love tofu– just sat down to a big plate of it for dinner!
Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin says
The Twin Oaks community is so cute! And that must be nice to be able to eat local tofu. 😀 I’ve looked, but I can’t find local tofu here anywhere.
Looks like they are doing some amazing things. I love the use of fire’s to stay warm.
I was wondering if Matt could give a suggestion on where to start for homebrewing beer (any website, forums, online stores,…). My husband is very interested in homebrewing but doesn’t know where to start. Thanks!
For buying stuff, you can’t beat MoreBeer.com, and for advice I recommend homebrewtalk.com. For these two purposes, I use these sites exclusively!
Awesome sites – thanks!
A tofu tour?!?! That’s awesome. But I think what is even more awesome is that you have such a wonderful husband who will willingly go on a tofu tour with you! 😉
Everything about that community seems to amazing. I’ve been thinking about spending on serious time on a commune for years, and so far Twin Oaks looks like the best one I’ve seen.
Natalia - a side of simple says
Wow. My jealousy is probably as hot as that fire. What a great experience! And I’m just kidding about the jealousy part. You share so much with your readers, it’s like we’re practically there. Thank you! 🙂
It looks like you and Matt had a really nice and enjoyable day! I love seeing farms like the one you visited, it’s nice to know they are still around and its nice to know tofu is in more demand 😀 woo!
Love this post!, LOVE tofu!, and love your outfit!!
Wow, you always find the greatest places around your area. Makes me want to start looking a little better around my own neck of the woods 🙂 The visit looked great and I LOVE tofu! I am going to search for those at my next trip to Whole Foods 🙂
Namaste Gurl says
Wow Kath, what an incredible tour you did have! I love tofu, so I’m sure I would take the tour offer with no hesitation 🙂 Wish they sold twin oaks brand around here!
Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) says
Awesome day! I love tofu, and this totally inspired me to pick some up this weekend.
Looks like you had a blast! 😀
(p.s. those baby calves are absolutely adorable! 😀 )
those calves are too cute…they make me want to be more than “mostly vegetarian”.
thanks for the breakfast tip…due to a miscommunication about the existance of a shuttle from the doubletree to the med center, i didn’t have time to eat there but i did drive past it on my way.
i am sad that i haven’t been able to explore since i arrived late and my interview was SEVEN! hours… it is super dark!…but i may have found my new lab home. everyone was so friendly!
p.s. i can’t find your email?
Your email was broken for me too!? I’m Katheats at gmail.
Ohmygosh, those are the flavoured tofus I used to tell you to try when you first started talking about this tofu! I miss it all so much 🙁 If I ever go back to Charlottesville, I hope I can do a tour like you did!
A fabulous tour! I love tofu and cant wait to read your reviews on their new flavors 🙂
Simply Life says
Oh what a fun tour!
This is SO cool!
Shannon (A Better Me) says
AWESOME pictures! That place looks amazing!
Mary @ Bites and Bliss says
Looks like a great time. I’d love spending all day around animals like that! And even though it was chilly, at least it was a pretty day for being outdoor so much 🙂
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) says
That would be so fun! I just found out the company I buy tofu from is local, but I doubt it is as cool as Twin Oaks!
Dave F says
Looks like a great day! I’m going to have to find some of that “more than tofu!”
What a wonderful adventure — it sounds like the perfect day. The tofu looks great!
Ashley @ the fit academic says
How cool – so rustic! Sounds like a good time!
So nice you got to tour the farm, I really like doing that whenever I have the chance. Last month I visited a local dairy farm, super nice to see people that really treat animals nicely.
You made the tofu sound so delicious, I like tofu and now really want to try this brand. Must see if Whole Foods carries it here in this part of NC.
Wow great pictures. Makes me homesick. I used to live there and spent most of my work days making that tofu– sometimes 10 hours in one day!
the yeasty “cheese” sauce rocked. Thanks!
Aww baby calf!!!
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey says
What an incredible day! How lucky of you they sent you home with a stash!
To Kiss the Cook says
That just looks like the best day ever. I swear- sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era. Hoping to find the tofu here- not easily sourced via their site but it looks like they have a great relationship with Whole Foods so I’m checking the one by me. Don’t you just love seeing where things are grown/made? Vineyards, orchards…the works.
I have been looking forward to trying this local tofu ever since I saw it in blog world! I think they carry it at the Short Pump Whole Foods so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for it next time I’m there. Looks like a wonderful day 🙂
Melissa @ I Never Imagined says
That place looks really cool- very rustic! For some reason I really like the boot photo!
Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] says
cute green coat =]
Stephanie C says
Ah! I want to try that tofu SO bad! I know they probably don’t want to ship their tofu this far west (Southern California), but would you consider a give away or something with the tofu? I am DYING to try it. The best Tofu I’ve had so far is the sprouted tofu sold at Whole Foods, but herby tofu would be great.
Erica D @ Gratitouille says
This community looks incredible. I once dated a guy who had lived on a Christian commune; this is much more up my alley. I would love to at least live near it to enjoy its harvest!
What a cool day! And your photos are so good- you should do a photograhpy post.
I had to leave a comment on this cause Twin Oaks is in my hometown!! I’m so glad you and Matt had a great visit!
What a fun day!! Loving solar panels too! My husband realllly wants us to live in net-zero home. I can’t wait!
Laura (Starloz) says
what an interesting place
J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) says
I have seen Twin Oaks tofu at my local natural store here in upstate NY!! 🙂 I need to buy some next time I see it, it always looks (and feels) perfect.
Love their greenhouses + animals! I’d love to have all of that at my own home. Not sure I’d make perfect tofu, though! haha
Wow that is so interesting. I love tours, food, farms, drinks etc…
Your so lucky to live near by.
They don’t happen to sell it overseas do they? Australia? Of course it would have to be frozen.
Nicole, RD says
Wow! What a day indeed! The tofu sounds amazing. I love that it doesn’t need to be drained — we love that spongy texture!!
Tofu in China has a long history.we can even have it everywhere and any time. it looks different from our Tofu.
[email protected] says
What an incredible community!
So cool! I want a tour 🙂
Jennifer (Understanding Food) says
What a great post! I actually just emailed Twin Oaks to see if their products are available anywhere near my home in Wisconsin (since you had mentioned Chicago locales). I hope to find some soon to try!
Paxus Calta says
Wow. So many comments on this fine post. i live at Twin Oaks and eat our tofu of course. Your readers should know that they can influence their local health food store to carry Twin Oaks Community food if they dont already by simply asking for it repeatedly, persistently and with a number of your friends – and then of course switching to it as your regular brand once it comes in.
[email protected] says
This is so rad!!! What an awesome day!
Whoa! My Whole Foods carries their products and I love them. I had no idea there was this unique story behind it. I’m so glad you shared it with us. Spicy Thai More than Tofu = the bomb diggity.
amy b says
Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey says
Just heard back from Twin Oaks – for readers in the Charlotte area, Twin Oaks is available at the area Earthfare stores.
I’ll be getting myself some tomorrow. 🙂
Thanks so much for visiting and sharing! Communal living (particularly a place Twin Oaks where their shared values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology are emphasized) is fascinating to me. The pictures, are as always, fabulous and I love your presentation of them. I really need to start pulling up some photoshop tutorials!
p.s. Benji is a cutie
Hillary @ This Tiny House says
Thank you for taking some wonderful photos of my old home! I lived at Twin Oaks several years ago — still looks the same! I’m glad you had a good visit.
Amber K says
Yay for non-GMO!!!
I used to live there and I miss their tempeh like crazy (also the place and people, who are a lovely bunch). The meals there were so amazing; I can still taste River’s yeast n’ mac and black beans lunches. Sigh!
CoCo Wray says
I’m so excited to try this brand of tofu. I found it right around the corner from my place at Earthfare!
Heidi - apples under my bed says
Great post! Beautiful pictures of the grounds. That broth looks incredible!
Great post and pics!
Dave (Janel’s dad!)
What a great post Kath! I used to eat more tofu when I used to be a vegetarian, but since I started eating meat again it appears less often on the menu. This post made me want to eat more tofu and others non-meat alternatives meals. Thanks for the post.
The Healthy Apple says
You are adorable! What a fun day! Love it, Kath!
Cisco Cousteau says
I lived at Twin Oaks 1979-1981. I was a kid then, the youngest non-child member. In those days I made tofu for use only on the farm. I cooked it up one pot at a time. Nowadays I live in a California suburb, I work as an engineer, I’m married and I pay a mortgage every month. Beware, boys and girls, middle age could happen to you too! But I’m still a herbivore and I still enjoy tofu.
Wow…..Wasn’t it hard in a way to swap Twin Oaks for a California suburb….especially for that workaday world?
Ever considered returning to this beautiful place with your family, and your engineering knowledge?
Just curious! – Good luck
Wonderful tour! We toured a community called Earth Haven in Black Mountain, NC, and had a similar respect for the commitment to sustainability!
I get this tofu at EarthFare! It was great for me to learn the back-story. Kudos to you for showing Twin Oaks off! 😀
Inspiring post and photos of beautiful Twin Oaks.
We were happy to find that the cooperative supermarket in our fine community of Greenbelt, Maryland carries Twin Oaks products. And yup – the TOFU is delicious!
I considered moving to Twin Oaks about 20 years ago – and my reasons for not doing it were a combination of music opportunities and deciding to remain near family – but not because of Twin Oaks. In fact there are times when I still feel torn, and if I weren’t happy with my life and community now, I would again consider Twin Oaks.
It was my several visits to Twin Oaks, and research on it, that provoked me to consider moving there, perhaps for life.
I’m not sure about that “high turnover rate” mentioned by one poster. In fact, one of the many qualities that impressed me about TO was that the turnover rate was actually lower than average. That is to say, the average length of stay – at least five years at that time – was longer than that of the average American. Also bear in mind that there is a segment of people that come and go after shorter stays, less than five years….either because they’re young and just exploring life’s many choices….or others who try it and find it’s not for them…..etc. But despite all that, there are people who have been living at Twin Oaks for many years, including some for more than 20 years……
I still visit from time to time. And it’s got so much more to offer than just the delicious food and beautiful land. A wonderful community, and we’re lucky it is there to provide such an inspiring example of human life and existence. Thanks again for highlighting this great place. – Lowspark