Vendor Profile: Water & Wheat
“I hope my customers see the possibility of their diet and what a food system could look like without taking lives,” Josh says. “Also, I want people to see how delicious vegan food can be.”
From using local produce to his solar-powered generator, Josh Musinski of Water & Wheat walks the walk in his vegan business.
By Kat Peters, Market Manager
Vegan food is a way of life for Josh Musinski of Water & Wheat. He moved from Chicago to Coloma, Michigan to be able to grow and access the high quality local ingredients that go into his vegan meats, which he sells frozen to take home and also as hot meals at the market.
Why go vegan? Josh says that eating vegan food helps us to understand that human liberation is tied up with the liberation of all animals. Vegan food helps us to eat without taking the life of another animal, and he makes choosing this path absolutely delicious.
“I noticed that I was being destructive in my life, and I wanted to make a change,” he says. “I feel personally connected to all living things, and my vegan activism is something that I can do to make a change in myself and in the world.”
Water & Wheat “meats” are made with beans, mushrooms, and 2-3 other locally grown veggies in each one. The bulk of the ingredients come from five Michigan farms, such as Daniel Delaney at Sprout It Mushroom Farm, who grows the mushrooms used by Water & Wheat. When Josh wanted a particular kind of mushroom for a certain product, Dan found the exact species that fit his specifications. It is now one of Sprout It’s most popular mushroom with other customers, too. A great local food synergy.
Josh knows his mushroom grower, Dan, who provides Water & Wheat with the exact species to make a perfect vegan Big Rib.
Another element of the local food system that makes Water & Wheat possible is the ValleyHUB, the “largest network of buying and selling opportunities for local food in Southwest Michigan.” Not only does ValleyHUB process the locally grown produce exactly to Water & Wheat’s specifications, but the hub allows access to delivery due to the economies of scale only a food hub can provide.
Josh sees Water & Wheat as far more than a vegan business; he’s hoping to cause a shift toward making plant-based meats from what our local farmers are growing. “Michigan is the best place to live in the Midwest,” he says, adding, “we can grow pretty much anything there, including so many kinds of nuts like walnuts.”
Some vegan food, he points out, is made from soy grown in the Western hemisphere, sent to China to be de-fatted, sent back to the US to be mixed with coconut oil and metho-cellulose made in a lab. “Venture capitalists take on vegan foods as an investment, and make cheap and bad food,” Josh points out, “rather than seeing veganism as a chance to strengthen a local food system. Our goal is to try to course-correct the vegan industry.”
Water & Wheat makes vegan meats from locally grown vegetables, not globalized soy product.
Having a strong local food system is healthy and good for local place and people, and it’s also good for something as big as national security. “I was at a beginning farmer event in Illinois a few years back. It was a training funded by the Department of Homeland Security because we know that our food system is too dependent on a global network that could fail. A local food system allows us to provide for each other and share, growing enough for ourselves and our neighbors. That way everyone can eat!”
From national security to cruelty-free eating, from supporting local farmers to just enjoying something delicious, Water & Wheat vegan products have a lot going for them!
“I hope my customers see the possibility of their diet and what a food system could look like without taking lives,” he says. “Also, I want people to see how delicious vegan food can be.”
And it is delicious! From tacos al pastor to Italian beef to brats to fried chicken, customers at the Coffee Creek Farmers Market come from many miles away to have Water & Wheat for dinner, or to take home frozen vegan meats for meals throughout the week.
Have you tried Water & Wheat yet? If not, come out to the market to get a taste. We think you’ll be hooked, and you can feel good that your meal supports local farmers, has a lower impact on the planet, and builds a local food system without taking lives.
Have a delicious dinner at the market, or take home some vegan meats for your weekly menu.
Find us this week and every week at our Wednesday market at the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Pavilion parking lot, April 20-November 2, 2022, from 3PM-sunset (now that we're past the fall equinox). Check us out on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list to get notified of all of the vendors' featured products each week.
Thank you for voting for the Coffee Creek Farmers Market as your favorite market in this year's American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition! We were voted #7 in the state of Indiana! We love our market community and are so glad that so many farmers markets felt the love this year!