In case you hadn't heard, turmeric is one of the best foods you can introduce to your diet.
The multitude of health benefits that it provides are unparalleled and you can add it to your diet in a variety of ways: fresh, powdered, mixed into stews or drunk. This is where MuTonics comes in; the Irish company, which was founded by Clovis Ferguson (of the Gubbeen Fergusons) and Ruth Calder-Potts (daughter of the family behind Highbank Orchard), produces turmeric-based Jamu, an ancient Indonesian health drink.
The drink is deep-rooted in Indonesian culture, but Ruth says it's finally starting to make an impact in the West:
"Jamu means health drink in Indonesian, so you'd be given a different Jamu depending on your ailment but the main ingredients are always turmeric and black pepper. They've been making them in Indonesia for thousands of years, we’re only just cottoning on now. Medicinal tonics have been around for about 3,000 years. People have said to us that turmeric is this new thing but it originated in Indonesia from the lack of Western medicine – people looked to the soil to help them."
View this post on Instagram
The weekend approaches...We have our Jamu heading out to all our usual places. Yesterday was #mahonpointfarmersmarket, today in #bantrymarket, every Saturday #skibbereenfarmersmarket and ending with our lovely local Sunday #schullcountrymarket. You'll find us on the #Gubbeen stand. Hard to miss as it glows with gorgeous turmeric light ☀️
Read more: Ireland's Most Popular Foods According to TasteAtlas
The company was founded three years ago, Ruth told us, after Clovis was introduced to the drink by a friend in London:
"Clovis loved to cook with the ingredients already, but a friend of ours had rheumatoid arthritis and turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so Clovis made him a batch. It didn't fix it, but it really aided him and brought down the inflammation particularly on sore days. Clovis started to make the drink and sell it at the Gubbeen market stall and people loved it!"
Shortly after, Clovis came on board after encountering the product at a Cork food festival:
"I saw this bright yellow bottle and thought it was awesome, so I reached out to Clovis to get involved. We sat down and decided to set up MuTonics nearly two years ago. Jamu is our first product, but we have more coming soon."
View this post on Instagram
Frosty morning followed by gorgeous sun. Totally delighted. Hot Jamu works ever so well in this scenario. 1 part Jamu (100ml) to warm water. I sometimes feel like adding a little extra honey and lemon but not today. A little spoon of coconut oil helps us to absorb the goodness within turmeric and makes it so delicious. #drinkjamu #hotjamu #simple #antiinflammatorydiet #immunesupport #cleansing #comforting #turmeric #curcumin #coconutoil #lemongrass #honey #tonic #somelikeithot #longdrink #wholefood #mutonics
The two women, who come from Irish food royalty, are set to become powerhouses in the Irish food industry. Their Jamu is now available in speciality stores around the country, including Country Choice in Nenagh and Avoca Ballsbridge Food Market in Dublin. Now that turmeric has become a 'trendy' food, the pair's Jamu looks poised to become massively popular. However, the road to success wasn't completely smooth.
"It wasn't easy to start out, we struggled with labelling laws and we kept wondering why are we doing this. We wanted our Jamu to be sold in glass because it's more sustainable, even though our couriers weren't too happy! We wanted to start out with the ethics of a good quality product made with high-quality ingredients. Even though that was difficult, and we do everything by hand, we knew we had supportive families and loyal customers, so we stuck with it. We could have gone the easy route, but we stuck to our values. To do something like this you need to have passion and care about what you do, otherwise, you'll give up. It was a blessing in disguise that Clovis and I didn't know each other before we started working together, it allowed us to be totally honest with each other."
View this post on Instagram
A great interview by Kate Ryan @flavour.ie with @clovis_ferguson - the first of Kate's drink series in the Cork Echo kicks of with us. An honest talk about all things JAMU, the ups and downs of setting up a business and the future of MuTonics. ⠀ ⠀ A snippet of the article here: HELPING FUEL A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE ⠀ By Kate Ryan ⠀ WHEN you behold a bottle of Jamu, it evokes all that is good with the world: sunshine, healthfulness and tropical ingredients. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Peeking from behind the bottle may well be the equally sunny face of Clovis Ferguson, always smiling, along with her business partner, Ruth Calder-Potts. Together they are MuTonics, the brand behind this mysterious drink, a recipe with its origins in Indonesia, and the origins of its makers stem from two of the finest artisan food dynasties in Ireland. ⠀ ⠀ Clovis, of the West Cork Gubbeen Fergusons, and Ruth, of the Kilkenny Highbank Orchard Calder-Potts, met only in 2017 by chance over a market stall in Schull. ⠀ ⠀ “Ruth’s background is in acting, and she was in Schull for the Fastnet Film Festival. I was working the Gubbeen market stall and had some bottles of Jamu for sale. Ruth saw it and was amazed that the buzz about turmeric had reached West Cork!” said Clovis. ⠀ ⠀ “She bought a couple of bottles, and rang me about a week later and said if I ever wanted someone to assist with distribution or to help spread the word that she was super-interested.” ⠀ ⠀ But what is Jamu?............ ⠀ ⠀ READ THE FULL INTERVIEW BY CLICKING ON THE LINK IN OUR BIO ⠀ ⠀ #jamu #mutonics #interview #mention #corkecho #health #turmeric #meetthemaker #lifestyle #newbusiness #irishfood ⠀ #healthylifestyle #healthyfood #allkindsofgains #mutonicsireland #healthy #tonic #healthtonic #antiinflammatory #organic #organicfood #ireland #fitspo #fitsporation #lifestyle #ireland #allkindsofgains #goodmoodfood #functionalfood #wholefood ⠀
The pair were blessed to come from food-focused families that really instilled love and respect for good produce into them. Now that they've started their own food business, Ruth believes that they truly understand the lessons instilled them by their parents:
"Why eat in McDonald's when you can go to Bunsen? We were always taught to go for quality over anything else. When the quality is better, you get a better product."