The story behind this quiet and secluded valley
Nearing the end of 9th century, when Goryo Dynasty was rising in the shadow of Silla Dynasty’s decline, those members of Silla aristocracy who had sworn faithful allegiance to their lost country refused to be assimilated into Goryo, and instead, started their search for a remote place where they could seclude themselves from society. At long last, they found themselves in a backwoods village nestled among the precipitous mountains and valley that stretched away like a wall… Paying respect to those noble men of unwavering integrity straight as bamboo stems, the village was later called ‘Jookjang(竹長),’ the ‘Long Bamboo’ in its literal meaning.
Lasting relationship with the remote village of Sangsa-ri
JookJangYeon was born out of the sisterhood relationship made through ‘One Company One Village’ campaign in 1999 between the remotest village in Pohang area, Jookjang-myeon Sangsa-ri, and ‘Young Il Enterprise,’ a company in charge of onsite transportation at POSCO.
Though in the same district as the city of Pohang, one still has to brave over ninety minutes of twists and turns to reach Sangsa-ri, a tucked-away village deep in the screening mountains and valley. Every year since 1999, ‘Young Il Enterprise’ has been providing various volunteer works in the village, such as helping with pepper harvest, lending hands in the busy farming season or providing free farm machinery repair service.
Hence, the village people…
To show their gratitude, Sangsa-ri residents started sending pots of doenjang(Korean traditional fermented soybean paste) and gochujang(Korean traditional fermented red pepper paste) made with soybeans harvested in Jookjang as well as its regional specialty acer mono sap and other farm produce to ‘Young Il Enterprise.’ Once tasted doenjang and gochujang made in the most traditional way in Sangsa-ri with its superb soybean, freshest water and sincere hearts of local residents, everyone was unsparing with their praise of Sangsa-ri doenjang and gochujang’s outstanding flavor and quality.
‘Let’s share this wonderful doenjang and gochujang not just among us but with everyone out there.’ Such spirit of sharing and cooperation between the village and the company paved the way for establishment of JookJangYeon.
Our soybeans made into our doenjang.
Good people, great doenjang
Every year, Sangsa-ri people divide their time equally between the two most important activities, tending to their soybean fields and turning the harvested soybeans into doenjang. To Sangsa-ri people, farming soybean and making doenjang are, first and foremost, their own affairs.
Growing soybeans and turning them into doenjang to be shared and enjoyed by everyone, each and every Sangsa-ri people is both JookJangYeon’s proud team member and its loyal customer. Fastidious adherence to the traditional way in drying meju(block of fermented soybeans used to make doenjang) not by electronic heating fans but only by sea breeze and valley wind. Wisdom in staying away from the convenience of gas stove but insisting on using oak firewood only.
Even the rice straw ropes used to tie and hang up meju should come from the nature or else unacceptable.
Beyond wholesome ingredients and naturally blessed environment, when made by good people, JookJangYeon, the jeontongjang(Korean traditional fermented bean paste) above jeontongjang, comes to perfection.