Mid-summer, I received a letter from Governor Steve Bullock’s office inviting me to be a member of a trade delegation to Taiwan and South Korea. Receiving this letter was the equivalent of Cinderella receiving an invitation to the Prince’s ball. That is, I feel out of my element. However, my family, Kamut International, and state funding rallied to provide the resources to make the trip a reality. And so, I have been preparing for the last ten weeks to go to Asia.

To connect a lot of dots in a fairly short amount of time, I’m going to Taipei and Seoul as part of an official Montana Trade Delegation. South Korea is Montana’s second largest trading partner, while the combined Taiwan and China markets rank as the third largest buyers of Montana products. You can find an infographic here for trade stats  -montana trade stats This is the fourth such trade mission to foreign countries for Montana, and I will be one of only four women part of the delegation of seventeen. http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/bullock-announces-trade-mission-to-south-korea-taiwan/article_e28241c2-d4f9-528b-b4e7-acbe93b40a80.html

My goal for this trip is learning more about the Taiwan and South Korean markets for organic ancient grains. My understanding is that breakfast cereal, Italian-style pasta, and American-style bread products are not desired products for Asian markets, although these are some of the more popular products for KAMUT(R) Brand khorasan wheat.  I hope my notions of cultural food norms are set on end. This summer while traveling in Europe, Clem and I noted the pervasiveness of Irish pubs and Mexican cantinas in St. Petersburg, Russia. So, who knows? Until you put your boots or high heels on the ground.

I’m currently trying to navigate bringing grain samples into both markets; apparently it involves “phytosanitary certificates” and $100+ for each country. I’m also trying to navigate an appropriate wardrobe… and, as a Missoula girl, I don’t wear heels very often…