History of Oregon-born Tofurky

Founder Seth Tibbott wanted vegans and vegetarians to feel welcome at the dinner table.

A table spread with Thanksgiving dishes and a center plate with a plant-based meat alternative roast.

The Tofurky Roast is made with wheat and tofu and filled with rice and breadcrumb stuffing.

Photo courtesy of Tofurky

Table of Contents

Millions of homes around the US invite the same guest to the dinner table each Thanksgiving — the turkey. And just like a political debate that somehow finds its way to the feast, the meaty main course can be polarizing.

Enter: Tofurky.

You’ve likely heard the name before; it’s often used to reference a meatless roasted turkey alternative. In truth, Tofurky is a brand encompassing several plant-based protein products made just down the road in Hood River. In honor of the holiday, we’re serving up a generous helping of Tofurky history.

Hatching the brand

It all started with a teacher, naturalist, and tempeh enthusiast named Seth Tibbott. Seth enjoyed sharing his homemade tempeh (a high-protein food made from fermented soybeans) with family and friends. So in 1980, Seth opened a business in Forest Grove dedicated to producing plant-based proteins to help vegans and vegetarians feel more included at the dinner table.

The business expanded to a vacant elementary school in 1983 and Seth built a 300-sqft treehouse to call home — he was ahead of the curve on the tiny house trend. Tofurky’s first Holiday Roast debuted in 1995. Eight hundred roasts were sold that first year; as of 2020, Tofurky had sold more than 7 million.


Today, Tofurky is still a family business with Seth’s stepson Jaime Athos leading the flock as the CEO. The mission remains the same: respecting people, animals, and the planet by “getting every bacon-chomping, barbecue-loving eater out there to see the wisdom of a plant-based diet.”

Customers can find the brand’s famous roast and other chef-crafted plant-based products — like deli slices, sausages, and burger patties — in grocery stores across the US and online.

More from PDXtoday