Who is Three Sisters Nixtamal?

Meet Pedro, Adriana and Wendy.  Our Three Sisters Nixtamal story begins with the Enchiladas Potosinas that Adriana’s mother, a native of San Luis Potosi, would bring frozen in her suitcase on her annual summer visits.  

First Bite

Knowing her friend Wendy was interested in traditional foods, Adriana shared her hometown culinary treasures. Wendy’s first bite sparked the discussion of how popular Enchiladas Potosinas would be if readily available north of the border. 

Birth of Three Sisters

The idea for an artisanal Mexican food business took further shape later in 2010 when Adriana inherited her Tia Julieta’s tortilla cutter, the same machine her aunt had used for her Enchilada Potosina business in Mexico.  When she broached Wendy about bringing her professional skills to the endeavor, the two along with Adriana’s husband, decided to form a partnership. 

Bringing Fresher Tortillas

Recognizing how corn, one of our most traditional foods, has been compromised through GMO seeds and dangerous pesticides, they agreed to use only the highest quality organic corn in all of their products. It quickly became clear that along with the more specialized artisanal foods like Potosinas, Portland needs the basics— a fresher, more flavorful and healthier organic corn tortilla and for the more experienced or adventurous cook, the freshly-ground organic masa to make their own tortillas, tamales, sopes and gorditas.

Now in Stores and Restaurants

In the summer of 2012, Three Sisters Nixtamal started selling organic freshly-ground masa, three types of tortillas and Potosinas at the People’s Co-op Farmers Market in Southeast Portland.   We added the PSU Portland Farmers Market the following summer and started showing up on store shelves shortly thereafter. We are currently available at New Seasons, Portland & Seattle Whole Foods and many of co-ops and specialiy markets in Portland and throughout the Northwest.

Adriana

Adriana Azcárate-Ferbel is a native of Mexico City with ancestral roots in the central highland capital of San Luis Potosi. Her studies of biochemistry in Mexico eventually led her to attend the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland and upon graduation she established herself as a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on nutrition and alternative treatments.  Since 2012 she has been working on building Three Sisters Nixtamal full-time but her passion for healthier living grows with her continuing education in naturopathic medicine, meditation and healing through diet and life-style.  Adriana shines with a care and compassion that carries over to the management of our kitchen crew, the teaching of tortilla making classes and in interactions with customers.

Wendy

An upbringing with parents in the Foreign Service inevitably made travel and food a major part of Wendy Downing’s life.  University of Virginia was soon followed by the California Culinary School, two years of cooking at San Francisco’s famed Zuni Cafe and a year of travel including stages in Beijing, Tuscany and Venice before heading the kitchen at Ristorante Ecco. In 1999 she exited the kitchen and entered into a different angle of the Bay Area food world working with Eleanor Bertino in restaurant, artisan food business and event public relations. Fifteen years in San Francisco have now been followed by almost fifteen more in Portland, so while travel still beckons, so does calling the beautiful Pacific Northwest home.

Pedro

Pedro Ferbel-Azcárate, husband of Adriana and dining partner on their family visits to Mexico, is an interdisciplinary archaeologist teaching in the Black Studies department at Portland State University. Pedro brings his research focus on Indigenous foodways of Latin America and the Caribbean to the sourcing of corn and traditional production techniques at Three Sisters Nixtamal. He was president of the Board of Directors of Portland’s People’s Food Cooperative, where he developed innovations in the promotion of local and organic whole food diets.   He teaches classes on the natural food industry and food justice topics and has taught in the Nutrition and Gastronomy programs at the Universidad Latina de America, Morelia, Mexico. 

Who is Three Sisters Nixtamal?

Meet Pedro, Adriana and Wendy.  Our Three Sisters Nixtamal story begins with the Enchiladas Potosinas that Adriana’s mother, a native of San Luis Potosi, would bring frozen in her suitcase on her annual summer visits.

First Bite

Knowing her friend Wendy was interested in traditional foods, Adriana shared her hometown culinary treasures. Wendy’s first bite sparked the discussion of how popular Enchiladas Potosinas would be if readily available north of the border. 

Birth of Three Sisters

The idea for an artisanal Mexican food business took further shape later in 2010 when Adriana inherited her Tia Julieta’s tortilla cutter, the same machine her aunt had used for her Enchilada Potosina business in Mexico.  When she broached Wendy about bringing her professional skills to the endeavor, the two along with Adriana’s husband, decided to form a partnership. 

Bringing Fresher Tortillas

Recognizing how corn, one of our most traditional foods, has been compromised through GMO seeds and dangerous pesticides, they agreed to use only the highest quality organic corn in all of their products. It quickly became clear that along with the more specialized artisanal foods like Potosinas, Portland needs the basics— a fresher, more flavorful and healthier organic corn tortilla and for the more experienced or adventurous cook, the freshly-ground organic masa to make their own tortillas, tamales, sopes and gorditas.

Now in Stores and Restaurants

In the summer of 2012, Three Sisters Nixtamal started selling organic freshly-ground masa, three types of tortillas and Potosinas at the People’s Co-op Farmers Market in Southeast Portland.   We added the PSU Portland Farmers Market the following summer and started showing up on store shelves shortly thereafter. We are currently available at New Seasons, Portland & Seattle Whole Foods and many of co-ops and specialiy markets in Portland and throughout the Northwest.

Adriana

Adriana Azcárate-Ferbel, a native of Mexico City with ancestral roots in the central highland capital of San Luis Potosi, has traveled extensively throughout Mexico. A graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine, she is a Naturopathic Doctor focusing on nutrition and alternative health. With her background in biochemistry, Adriana incorporates her knowledge of food science into health treatments and diet. 

Wendy

An upbringing with parents in the Foreign Service inevitably made travel and food a major part of Wendy Downing’s life.  University of Virginia was soon followed by the California Culinary School, two years of cooking at San Francisco’s famed Zuni Cafe and a year of travel including stages in Beijing, Tuscany and Venice before heading the kitchen at Ristorante Ecco. In 1999 she exited the kitchen and entered into a different angle of the Bay Area food world working with Eleanor Bertino in restaurant, artisan food business and event public relations. Fifteen years in San Francisco have now been followed by almost fifteen more in Portland, so while travel still beckons, so does calling the beautiful Pacific Northwest home.

Pedro

Pedro Ferbel-Azcárate, husband of Adriana and dining partner on their family visits to Mexico, is an interdisciplinary archaeologist teaching in the Black Studies department at Portland State University. Pedro brings his research focus on Indigenous foodways of Latin America and the Caribbean to the sourcing of corn and traditional production techniques at Three Sisters Nixtamal. He was president of the Board of Directors of Portland’s People’s Food Cooperative, where he developed innovations in the promotion of local and organic whole food diets.   He teaches classes on the natural food industry and food justice topics and has taught in the Nutrition and Gastronomy programs at the Universidad Latina de America, Morelia, Mexico.