Our Story

 

Zea May's mission is to promote an understanding of Native American cultures through food. Zea May’s is the manifestation of its owner’s dream of combining her love of healthy food and her passion for Native American cultures.

Because a restaurant proved to be an overly ambitious undertaking, we introduced Zea May’s to the Philadelphia public in the form of a food truck in the spring of 2012. For nearly two years, the truck could be found at special events, farmers’ markets, Love Park, the Navy Yard, and other locations, feeding hungry Philadelphians with a menu inspired by an array of Native American culinary traditions. The menu generally consisted of salads, hot and cold soups, empanadas and specialty items. On any given day you might find: Wild Rice Three Sisters Salad; Chilled Berry Soup; Lamb & Yam Stew; Bean & Cheese Empanadas; Bison Sausage Sandwich with Cranberry Relish and Agave Mustard; Native Flavors Granola Parfait; Blue Corn Biscotti.

When we weren’t cooking or serving on the truck, we began to offer educational programs dealing with topics related to Native American foods, both before and after the arrival of Europeans. For example, we partnered with several nonprofits to teach children about the “Three Sisters” (corn, bean and squash), from a cultural, agricultural and nutritional perspective.

In the fall of 2013, we discontinued operation of the food truck to focus on the educational aspect of the business. We have a vast repertoire of topics and can design programs suitable for children of all ages as well as for adults. We also sell selected house-made products, by special order only, and we are available for catering, as well. For up-to-date information about our activities, you can follow us on Facebook and/orĀ  Twitter, @ZeaMaysKitchen.

Zea May's is owned by Sue Wasserkrug, a resident of Mt. Airy in Philadelphia. Sue has a background in anthropology and has spent time on various Indian reservations. She is passionate about Native American cultures and about healthy food, and these passions led her to create Zea May's.

 

Why Zea May's?

The name "Zea May's" comes from the scientific term for corn: Zea mays. First domesticated in Central America, corn became a staple in diets throughout the Western Hemisphere before the arrival of Europeans. Today, corn is one of the most important crops in the world.