Faces of the Farmer’s Market: Abena and Eugene Foli

Abena and Eugene Foli created ‘POKS Spices,’ where they retail spicy seasonings based on flavors of West Africa


Olivia Lauter

Abena and Eugene Foli stand behind their spices at their booth at the Lucas Farmer’s Market. The couple sell spices based out of Ghana West Africa that she has created.

The tents decorate the lawn of the Lucas City Park, all uniform besides the occasional bright color or designed sign. Chatter between the customers and the merchant trying to pitch their best deal and score another sale fill the field. Customers pace up and down the lines and walk past a tent that looks almost identical to the rest lined up at the market, but this one catches their eye. A wide smiled Abena Foli pulls them in.

“Come by our booth and sample!” she cheers.

This is my wheelhouse”

— Abena Foli

When asked about her story, she laughed and looked at her husband and business partner, “well I guess I gotta tell,” she says. 

Their spicy seasoning company started through a game of white elephant at Abena Foli’s work as a full-time food scientist. She gifted her colleagues with some seasonings, and it caught their attention. Abena acted on this encouragement and what started as a contribution to a holiday game became ‘POKS Spices’. 

“I figured other people might like it too, and I made the business. And we’re here today,” she says.

Alongside her husband Eugene, the creators of POKS Spices sell and retail spicy seasonings with no sugar and no preservatives based on the flavors of Ghana West Africa, where Abena was born and raised. 

“This is my wheelhouse,” she says with a smile. 

Abena recites the variety of flavors and seasonings, spewing recommendations to each customer. Another customer approaches the tent with their sister they brought back after high recommendations of their first purchase. Past the sales and past the business, Abena’s favorite part of it all is seeing those customers and their joy in the product.