Three Sisters ​Nixtamal


            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.  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.

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 and Three Sisters Nixtamal was born. 

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. 

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.

The Partners 
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. 

Pedro Ferbel-Azcárate, husband of Adriana and dining partner throughout Mexico, is an anthropologist at Portland State University, with a research focus on Indigenous foodways of Latin America. Pedro was president of the Board of Directors of Portland’s People’s Food Cooperative, where he developed sourcing innovations for the natural food industry and the promotion of local, organic, whole food diets.  He was a member of the food policy working group of Coalition for Livable Future and taught in the Nutrition and Gastronomy programs at the Universidad Latina de America, Morelia, Mexico. 

Wendy Downing headed to Mexico upon graduating from the University of Virginia where she majored in Latin American Studies. She furthered her studies and traveled throughout country before moving to San Francisco and attending the California Culinary Academy. Following cooking school she worked at San Francisco's famed Zuni restaurant for two years and then traveled around the world completing cooking stages at restaurants in Beijing, Tuscany and Venice. Settling back in San Francisco she was executive chef at Ristorante Ecco before joining the team at Eleanor Bertino Public Relations, one of the country's top boutique food and restaurant firms. She has assisted with product development at the Center for Culinary Development and co-edited the Slow Food Guide to San Francisco. A Portland resident since 2005, she served on the Board of the Moreland Farmers Market for four seasons.