Take a trip down memory lane with us and learn about the history of Edward & Sons! When you purchase our products you are supporting a family-owned and operated company. Hop aboard and scroll through our journey below!
At the age of 22, Joel Dee is developing export markets for his family’s candy business, Ce De Inc, creators of the iconic American "Smarties" candy roll, which was founded by his father Edward. Joel had recently become vegetarian and, as a young, traveling salesman spending a lot of time on-the-road, he has difficulty finding restaurants with vegetarian options. While calling on potential customers in Belgium, he discovers packets of freeze-dried miso powder in a small health food store.
Joel with his brothers, Michael and Jonathan Dee.
Joel makes instant miso soup in his hotel room and they nourish him throughout his continuing travels. After returning to the USA, Joel seeks in vain to replenish his freeze-dried miso supply. He learns that owners of American health food stores have no interest in “convenience” foods. He can buy them in conventional supermarkets, but only if he's willing to accept artificial ingredients and preservatives. Vegetarian convenience foods made from unadulterated natural ingredients are nowhere to be found in grocery or health food stores. His search leads him to a health food trade show, where his hopes are dashed by the industry's lack of interest in convenience foods.
Joel begins to see it as his duty to change this. He knows where he has to begin. Freeze-dried miso had been a life-saver during his travels and he misses it dearly. He reasons that others would also appreciate its convenient and flavorful nourishment if they had the chance to experience it. While visiting Japan to call on a candy business customer, Joel makes side-trips to visit miso producers and begins product development of instant miso soup.
Joel in Japan being taught to play the game of "Go".
After a year of product development, the first production of instant miso soup arrives in NJ. Joel resigns his duties in the family candy business and puts all efforts into the new business, which he names after his father and brothers. Joel launches Edward & Sons Trading Company with the introduction of Instant Miso-Cup® soup mix, aligned with his mission to bring wholesome, vegetarian convenience foods to American consumers.
Joel with Japanese suppliers who helped him with Japanese communications and logistics.
Having no contacts or customers in the "health food industry", Joel began loading his first samples into a used Airstream trailer hitched to his Chevy. Joel and his significant other drive to health food stores throughout the Northeast and across the country making Miso-Cup for those they encounter along the way. This begins to build a sales and distribution network. Overnighting in campgrounds and parking lots, each new day brings new stores and new shoppers to introduce to the easy preparation and satisfying nourishment of Miso-Cup®.
One of the first Edward & Sons offices was on wheels.
Joel travels back to Japan, where he develops our second product line. He finds a traditional rice cracker factory in the Sakata prefecture of Japan who agrees to custom-bake traditional usuyaki-style rice crackers from genmai (Japanese for "whole grain rice"). Edward & Sons introduces introduces Baked Brown Rice Snaps® wholegrain, gluten-free crackers to America, decades before "gluten-free" becomes a huge dietary trend"
With retailers and distributors now established from coast-to-coast, Joel can no longer administer the business from the road and settles on 56 acres outside the small mountain town of Saluda, North Carolina, about an hour south of Asheville.
The 56-acre property in Saluda, with the Edward & Sons sign.
We announce Premier Japan® to the public. The line presents Americans with a wide range of traditional Japanese specialties, from Shiitake to Soba noodles, which later was streamlined to focus on the first organic, gluten-free Asian sauces Premier Japan Teriyaki Sauce and Hoisin Sauce.
The Original Premier Japan® product family.
Joel moves the Edward & Sons' headquarters 80 miles north of Los Angeles to Carpinteria, California.
Edward & Sons Trading Co. acquires The Wizard's® brand from John Troy and we start selling the first vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. Before the Wizard’s creation, all Worcestershire sauce contained anchovies, and our goal was to create a Worcestershire sauce suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
In 1999, we bring the first Organic Hearts of Palm to the US under our Native Forest® brand. In 1999, we also introduce two new QAI certified organic Miso-Cup® varieties: Traditional Miso-Cup® with Tofu and Organic Reduced Sodium Miso-Cup®. FUN FACT: Our pioneering vegan logo has appeared on our vegan products since August of 1999!
In 2002, we introduce American consumers to the first organic coconut milk under our Native Forest® Brand.
In 2004, we bring the first organic vegan ice cream cones to life under our Let's Do... Organic® brand. This same year we introduce the first organic canned pineapple under our Native Forest® brand. Later, we added Let's Do... Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones to our line of products to offer a tasty treat for those with a gluten intolerance.
In 2007, we introduce Native Factor® Coconut Water to our product family.
In 2008, Miso-Cup® turns 30 years old. Many quick soups are packaged in disposable cups. We think it is more convenient and ecological to carry a pouch or two of Miso-Cup® in your pocket, purse or briefcase.
In 2014, we introduce our More Than Fair® brand consisting of Certified Fair-Trade Coconut Milk and Artichokes.
In 2018, Edward & Sons Trading Co. turns 40 years old! We've been around longer than the internet, CD's, MRI's, cell phones, and laptop computers. If that doesn't age us, we don't know what does!
Join us for our future as we innovoate organic and vegetarian foods for stores and consumers throughout the globe. When you purchase our products you are supporting a family owned and operated business.
Our founder Joel with his wife Alison, VP of Sales & Marketing.