Edible Food Finds: Yusō
Photo by Michael Piazza
While on a business trip to Japan in 2013, Sarah Sturtevant first sampled onigiri, a nori-wrapped rice ball stuffed with a variety of fillings, and was excited to bring the popular portable snack back home.
As a busy mother of two with a full-time career in investment management, she eventually decided she was ready to start something new and was intrigued by the idea of marketing this Japanese go-to snack in the United States. Sarah explains, “Onigiri is ubiquitous as a bag of chips in Japan—the snack that everyone grabs when they don’t have time to eat a full meal.”
By 2016, Sarah launched yusō, which means “to transport” in Japanese, in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The company’s onigiri are made in small batches using non-GMO California-grown, partially milled sushi rice. The fillings are made by hand, then formed into triangles, wrapped individually in additive-free nori.
Currently, yuso offers four flavors: Smoked Salmon, Spicy Smoked Salmon, Spicy Sesame Chickpea and Pickled Umeboshi Plum (an authentic combination using a tart delicacy, umeboshi). This summer, the yusō team will add a keto-friendly version using cauliflower rice. They try to use locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible. The flavors are not specific to Japan but more of a “global fusion.” Sarah explains, “A century-old concept brought up to date with taste, texture, nutrition and sustainability.”
The snacks are currently sold at numerous markets, colleges and dining services all over New England including bFresh in Somerville, Roche Brothers, Cambridge Naturals, Portsmouth Health Food and Logan Airport.
This story appeared in the Summer 2019 issue.