Tortillerías, chefs, and restaurants are sourcing heirloom corn from Mexico—and tortillas and tamales in the U.S. have never been better.
It’s now easier than ever to find high-quality nixtamalized masa in the United States, according to a corn-centric series on Epicurious about the “golden age of masa.” Food writer Javier Cabral explains that the first wave of masa in the United States was about convenience, starting with the invention of instant masa flour, better known as Maseca, a popular brand. In the years that followed, tortillerías in states with large populations of Mexican immigrants led masa’s second wave. The golden age is now being ushered in by brands like Masienda in this country and Tamoa in Mexico, along with tortillerías like Portland, Oregon’s Three Sisters Nixtamal and chefs like Fermín Nuñez, all of whom are building connections to Mexican farmers for a steady stream of heirloom corn. For those seeking to better understand how this works, in 2019 Masienda produced a 15-page report about its sourcing model. The 2021 report will be published next month.