From an artisanal butter that started out at a Carriageworks Farmers Market stall in 2010, Pepe Saya founder Pierre “Pepe”Issa never thought his butter would travel further than the kitchens of Sydney.
Fast forward 13 years, and his products can now be found in boutique delis and big supermarkets around the country as well as on Qantas flights and shelves in places like Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
However, now for the first time Pepe Saya cultured butter will be produced outside Sydney with the team partnering with the Amish community in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania to produce the Pepe Saya’s range of dairy products in 2024.
Pierre told Broadsheet that he thinks they’re about 10 recipes away from putting it on the market.
“[The Amish community] don’t practice conventional farming; their herds and farming techniques are, by default, organic and biodynamic,” he said.
“It’s a joint venture, not contract manufacturing. It’s our machinery on their farm and their community running it.”
The partnership was born in June 2023 after Pierre’s wife and Pepe Saya co-founder Melissa Altman made a trip to the Fancy Food Show in New York, where she was connected with the Amish community.
As the Amish can not fly, a delegate from the Mennonite community was then sent to Sydney to look at the Pepe Saya set up.
“He spent two weeks with us to understand what we do – and what we wanted to do,” Pierre told Broadsheet.
“The deal was he’d be here for a week and if he felt good I’ll follow him back.”
Pierre then travelled to Lancaster County with a collection of Pepe Saya goods, and went on to meet Brother Daniel, the Amish butter maker heading up Pepe Saya’s American production. Pierre set up the creamer, made the initial batches and held training sessions with the new team – and the rest is history.
It is planned the Pepe Saya core range will be eventually released to the US market.
Main image: Pepe Saya founder Pierre “Pepe” Issa has announced the brand has partnered with the Amish community ahead of its US expansion