At the Heart of Rhapsody20150417_101419

At the core of Rhapsody Natural Foods, you will find a family deeply rooted in the work of building a sustainable lifestyle.  We, Sjon and Elysha Welters moved to the US from the Netherlands in 1983 with our 1-year-old daughter in tow. We were in search of a place where our entrepreneurial spirits had space to soar. We dreamed of having a plot of land where we could build a homestead to support our plant-based diet while also creating an income that supports a local agricultural economy. Fourteen years of wandering up and down the East Coast landed us a mile from Cabot village in Central Vermont. This is where we started growing our roots, raising our three children, and starting a business.  Even today our three children and their families (7 grandchildren) live on the same property supporting the business in their own unique ways.

Elysha Madelief Expo East

When we first came to Vermont in 1997 we started a restaurant in Montpelier which eventually served as the test kitchen for the current line of Rhapsody Natural Foods products. Rhapsody Natural Foods has grown since its days of small test batches in the restaurant kitchen. We currently distribute our products throughout the Northeast and online to individuals and businesses from Maine to Texas. In 2011 our ultimate dream of working where we live was brought to fruition. The building of a small production facility as a part of our homestead was completed, we sold the restaurant to the folks that now run Bagito’s and rooted ourselves even deeper into the rural Vermont landscape.

With less time commuting, we now had more time to spend on our homestead. Growing the soil, maintaining large vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and our fields are part of our daily life, during the growing season that is. All with the hope of decreasing our carbon footprint and dependency on imported food. Not only do we work hard to decrease our own carbon footprint of our home and business, but we also create plant-based foods in the hopes of making it easier and tastier for others to reduce their carbon emissions as well. A plant-rich diet will cut your food-related carbon footprint in half!

We are committed to running a sustainable business that supports a natural lifestyle where the days and weeks of our lives are engaging, dynamic, inspiring, challenging, and fulfilling. Production, sales, marketing, distribution, and bookkeeping are all divided up according to skillset and interest. We get it all done with a sense of purpose and satisfaction!

Rhapsody is committed to supporting a sustainable local economy by buying our ingredients from local farmers. We purchase our soybeans for our tempeh from Canada, for our miso, and organic natto from farmers in Quebec. Our small natto soybeans come from the Mid-west family farm and our non-GMO. We grew rice successfully on our homestead in Cabot for 7 years, proving that rice production in Vermont is possible and that someday we’ll be able to source the rice for our Koji (starter culture for our miso) locally as well. We are constantly in search of opportunities to collaborate with local farmers. Right now we are hoping to find someone who is excited to grow organic natto soybeans locally as those are only available from a very limited number of suppliers. Also, we’re working on getting our certified organic soybeans for tempeh split and dehulled from a more regional source.

We are committed to producing foods that uphold their traditional value in an effort to nourish our bodies and community. We are passionate about fermentation. Fermented foods contain beneficial probiotic bacteria, are full of digestive enzymes that aid in digestion, support immunity, and help nutrients and minerals assimilate more easily. Eat something fermented at each meal!  Many of our products are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers. Our goal is not to only meet the organic standards but to exceed them, as the national standards of organic become less representative of the intention on which it was based.

In the face of the health, the economic and environmental crisis that our community, both local and global, faces today we are committed to our actions contributing to positive change. Our work towards meeting this challenge is in part by sharing our passion for high quality fermented local food!

Dear Rhapsody-folks,

We made our first order to you recently based on a wholehearted recommendation
Boy was he on the mark!

You guys are the absolute best. We have eaten tempeh from so many different sources
and restaurants for many years. At best, some of them tasted “okay.”

And then we come to your tempeh. While it was cooking I knew we were in for a treat.
And when we sat down to eat, we were transported to the world of delicious.

We are telling our friends, we will be back for more. Hope you can return to making
mochi as well, I suspect it would be out of this world. (And there is hardly anyone making it.)

Best wishes,
R & L Yonkers NY

Video Profile of Rhapsody by Farmers to You

A Day in the Life at Rhapsody Natural Foods

The Rhapsody Team

Sjon Welters


Elysha Welters


Madelief Welters