One of the pioneers of organic tempeh, Michael and Julie Joyce are also founding members of Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA), now Australian Organic Limited.
“We decided we would form a farming group that would give people choice, not allow monopoly from large enterprises and focus on good farming practice,” Michael recalls.
Mighty Bean started in 1983 on Michael and Julie’s farm at Cooloolabin.
“It has good water, fantastic northerly aspect and good soil, three things you need for good farming and good living.”
Michael and Julie have mastered the tempeh making process over five decades. Mighty Bean Soyfoods produces premium certified organic tempeh using traditional fermentation processes and their very own and unique Mi-T-Tempeh Starter. Michael is proud to have cultured his own certified organic starter since 1981.
“Our tempeh has its own DND that is specific to our product based on our unique starter.”
Handmade tempeh is an art and relying on a good quality starter is essential, and Michael even admits to “babysitting his culture 3 times a night.”
The cultured tempeh is produced the traditional way by soaking the soybeans for 9-12 hours (pre-fermentation), then the beans are rinsed thoroughly and cooked for 30 minutes to stop the enzyme action (sterilisation). The beans are placed in a spinner and drained. Once cooled, they are mixed with the cultured starter, placed in perforated bags and stored in an incubator for 24 to 36 hours. Et voila!
Mighty Bean is well renowned locally and regionally. From the Eumundi Markets, they are now distributing their products to local stores, food service distributors, restaurants, IGA stores and more recently on their online store.
Michael is passionate to integrate the community behind his brand and employs local staff. The average age of his workers is 68 years old. The retirement of his employees pushed him to look for replacement workers, however, the current lack of young internationals caused him to slow down his production and he is currently looking at restructuring, bringing in investors and moving site to develop the brand nationally.
The need to develop improved quality assurance systems, bigger incubation abilities, and efficiencies in processes allowed Michael’s family to master tempeh making.
“We were the first to extend the shelf life of tempeh from 3 weeks to 4 months using heat processes and vacuum bags.”
Mighty Bean continues to strive from the passion of Michael and Julie Joyce to provide sustainable high-quality protein for their family, friends and local community in the form of soy tempeh.
Find out more about Mighty Bean on their website: mightybeantempeh.com.au