After 11 years, Mama Mofoods is leaving the business

(Publisher’s note: Aug. 22 will be Mama Mo’s last Saturday at the farmers market, and Mill Pond Bread is not for sale, rather the property it sits on.)

By Lisa Carolin

*Article originally published in Chelsea Update, Aug 14

Mama Mofoods has become a staple of the Chelsea Farmers Markets, but not for much longer.

After 11 years of successfully selling a variety of seitan then adding hummus products, Mama Mofoods is in its final weeks as a vendor at the Saturday Chelsea Farmers’ Market.

Owner Linda Conrad and her husband, Conrad Hoehmann want to sell the business along with their commercial kitchen, home, and nearly three acres of property, located in Munith.

“Munith is centrally located between Lansing, Jackson and Ann Arbor, and it’s affordable,” says Linda Conrad, who was still raising her children when she started Mamamo Foods. “The commute was great.”

Linda Conrad offering samples at the Saturday Farmers Market.

Their property shares a huge parking lot with the Munith Lions Club and is located next to Mill Pond Bakery (and that property is also for sale).

“We can walk to the bank, the post office, and the hardware store,” she says.

“The kitchen has a walk-in refrigerator and freezer that are almost finished,” adds Hoehmann, who built the commercial kitchen.

It all started after Conrad spent time in New York and studied macrobiotics. When she returned to Michigan in 2003, Mama Mofoods was born.

While Conrad cooked for her family, she developed her unique products.

“I lived up and worked down,” she says, describing her home in Munith. “We started with seitan and it was a real learning curve for my customers. It was also a challenge trying to find resources for my ingredients. I had to demo a lot and educate people to this day about seitan (a food made from gluten, the main protein of wheat.)

Mama Mofoods first sold seitan at the Peoples Food Co-op in Ann Arbor, then added a store in Lansing, student dining at the University of Michigan, Google, several restaurants, a co-op in Traverse City, a store in Kalamazoo, and more.

After more than five years, Conrad got the idea of adding hummus to Mama Mofoods’ products. With her husband’s help, they came up with a variety of flavors including wasabi, ginger squash, and horseradish hummus. They decided to sell their products at farmers markets.

“I visited a number of farmers markets and really liked Chelsea’s markets,” says Conrad, who along with her husband were vendors at both Chelsea markets for several years, but are now just at the Saturday market.

Mama Mo sells numerous varieties of hummus as well as bean dip and chips.

“You have to do a lot every day to make money,” says Hoehmann, who has put in numerous hours. Mama Mofoods currently has two part-time employees.

Family health issues have taken their toll, and that’s what prompted the couple to sell the business as well as their home. Conrad is pursuing other work in food service while Hoehmann plans to retire.

For more information about Mama Mofoods, contact Linda Conrad at 517-596-2429 or at [email protected].