Smiling Hara Launches October Kickstarter for New HEMPEH Product Line

Smiling Hara Tempeh launches a 30-day Kickstarter October 7th - November 6th to bring HEMPEH to the marketplace—a brand new line of soy-free tempeh fortified with hemp seeds and beans from Growing Warriors, a healing farm for military veterans in Kentucky. The initial funding goal is $20,000.

Smiling Hara Tempeh, makers of organic artisanal tempeh out of Asheville, North Carolina, are scaling up for a 30 day Kickstarter campaign running October 7th to November 6th, to introduce a new product launch, called HEMPEH, to the Southeast region and beyond. HEMPEH is soy-free, hemp-fortified tempeh.

The hemp seeds and beans in HEMPEH will be sourced, where possible, from Growing Warriors, a working farm in Kentucky that teaches military veterans how to grow their own food. If brought to market, a portion of the profits from HEMPEH will be donated back to Growing Warriors.

Pledge level rewards include the new HEMPEH line of products, as well as HEMPEH-branded goodies, a tour of the Growing Warriors farm with a VIP farm to table dinner, an opportunity to cook with the creators, and more.

Kickstarting HEMPEH

Smiling Hara, which translates to “happy belly,” will launch two varieties of HEMPEH if they reach their Kickstarter funding goal of $20,000: Black Bean HEMPEH, and Yellow Split Pea HEMPEH.

A third, “surprise variety,” may be unveiled if Smiling Hara reaches a stretch goal.

“We don’t want to give the surprise away, but people are going to be really excited about it,” said Sarah Yancey, owner of Smiling Hara Tempeh along with her husband, Chad Oliphant.

As with all Kickstarter campaigns, the stakes are all or nothing. If the initial funding goal isn’t met, any money raised during the campaign is returned to the backers, a fact that Smiling Hara is taking in stride.

“We feel really lucky,” said Yancey. “There’s already a lot of interest in HEMPEH and we’ve got a strong, supportive community behind us who are eager to bring HEMPEH to their local natural foods store or food coop.”

“Ultimately, we want to make HEMPEH available for everyone,” said Oliphant.

Who Wants HEMPEH?

“HEMPEH is for anyone who enjoys delicious, healthy food, including those who are gluten free, looking to consume less or no meat, anyone who is environmentally conscious, and those looking for a high quality, digestible form of organic protein to add to their diets,” said Yancey.

“Just like our existing line of tempeh, HEMPEH will be used by everyone from home cooks to high end chefs,” said Oliphant.

In addition to being vegan and gluten-free, HEMPEH is prized for being extremely digestible, as well as rich in minerals and vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, iron, fiber, heart-healthy omega 3 and 6 essential fats, and the rarely found Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

Growing Warriors, Growing Hemp

“When we found out about Growing Warriors, we got excited, because we love their mission and commitment to helping veterans,” said Yancey.

Smiling Hara has exclusively used US-grown ingredients from the very beginning. Now that hemp is legal in nearby Kentucky, the Smiling Hara team says that utilizing the nutritional benefits of hemp in the new product line fits with their core values and business model.

“We are extremely excited for the opportunity to be a part of the growing hemp movement in the US. Hemp is one of the most important plants on the planet with so much to offer, nutritionally and beyond. There is something poetic about the fact that we can now source this exciting, healthy ingredient from farmers who have served our country overseas," said Oliphant.

"From the outset, our intention was to offer products with integrity—from quality ingredient sourcing to living wage employment to the highest quality end product. The opportunity to source ingredients from an organization with a mission such Growing Warriors' allows us to take it a step further. "

“Smiling Hara is founded on the healing power of food, especially live, organic, plant-based food, and we really admire how Growing Warriors puts that idea into action, offering healing for veterans by teaching them to grow organic food for their families,” Yancey added.

A "HEMPEH Hop" and Epic BBQ Challenge

Local to Asheville, Smiling Hara will be bring HEMPEH to four different restaurants as part of a "HEMPEH Hop" for exclusive, limited engagements during the campaign. Chefs from the following restaurants will put their unique spin on the new HEMPEH line for one week during the Kickstarter campaign, with customers getting the first taste:

Rosetta's/Buchi Bar

Mojo Kitchen and Lounge

Overeasy Cafe


Smiling Hara will also host the third annual Epic BBQ Tempeh Challenge on Sunday, Oct 26th, at the Boathouse at 318 Riverside Drive, the future home of the Smoky Park Supper Club restaurant. The ticketed event will feature local chefs, a panel of judges, generous sampling, local beverages, and musical entertainment, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Growing Warriors Project.

Chefs from the following restaurants will be squaring off:


Westville Pub

King James Public House

Buffalo Nickel

West Village Market & Deli

Neo Burrito

Over Easy Cafe

The Bom Bus

Luella's Bar-B-Que

Farm Burger

Beverages will be donated by Highland Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery, and Buchi Kombucha.

Presale tickets are available online here for $12, and will be $15 at the door on the day of the event. One ticket includes ten barbecue samples, two local beverages, and live music. Children 12 and under get in for free. 

Attendees are encouraged to bring picnic blankets or chairs and games. Those unfamiliar with The Boathouse can look for the shipping container structure that is under construction for the Smokey Park Supper Club restaurant at 318 Riverside Drive. 

For more event details and Kickstarter updates, follow Smiling Hara Tempeh, LLC on Facebook.

About Smiling Hara Tempeh and HEMPEH

Sarah Yancey and Chad Oliphant started Smiling Hara in 2009 with the intention of providing an organic, and locally sourced tempeh to customers in the Southeast. Early on in the business, Sarah and Chad discovered that soy-free tempeh was difficult to find. So they created two additional products: fresh-frozen Black Bean Tempeh and Black-Eyed Pea Tempeh, to meet the needs of folks wanting a vegetarian protein that’s not derived from soybeans. With their October Kickstarter campaign, they plan to launch a new, refrigerated soy-free product line, HEMPEH, tempeh fortified with hemp sourced from Growing Warriors, a healing farm for veterans in Kentucky. 

About Growing Warriors

The Growing Warriors Project is a program to train, assist, and equip veteran families with the skills, tools, and supplies needed to grow high quality naturally grown produce for their families, their communities, and their country. For more, visit