Umi Organic

There’s not a lot of things that hold a candle to a delicious bowl of ramen noodles, especially organic noodles created in the Pacific Northwest.

Portland native Lola Milholland knows ramen. As early as five years old, she began soaking up all the Japanese culture she could, taking part in an immersion program in elementary school. She also spent time living in Japan during college, continuing to study the culture and its cuisine. However, upon returning to Portland, she realized all the American ramen she’d ever tried was, in fact, imported from Japan. This might’ve been the moment she started thinking about changing that.

At age 23, she took a class at Portland’s Wheat Marketing Center, where she learned of different wheat noodles and flours. She had recently begun making her own noodles but wanted to find the best flavors possible, with local organic ingredients. With Portland’s close proximity to wheat farmers along with a burgeoning local grain movement, the cogs and gears were churning. She eventually landed on a noodle made with a mix of Central Milling flour from Utah, a touch of whole grain, and freshly-milled barley flour from Greenwillow Grains in the Willamette.  

As you might expect, these high-protein, whole-grain noodles are quite different from the dollar ramen you get at the grocery store. Lola nixed the preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, and GMOs, and replaced them with a healthy and soul-nourishing alternative. In fact, since launching Umi Organic in 2015, her noodles have been Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth, and in 2020, her Organic Yakisoba Noodles were named one of the best school lunches in the nation! She now runs the company along with her mother, Theresa Marquez, and her friend, Ayla Ercin.

We love noodling with these noodles. If you want to join us, we suggest adding our curated Yakisoba Kit to your order today!