March 2023 – March is Women’s History Month, and we’re celebrating women-led brands made here in the Bay Area. From agriculture and the food industry, to grocery shopping and home cooking, women are the heart of the world’s food supply. According to USAID (United States Agency for International Development) women are responsible for half of the world’s food production, and in most developing countries they produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food. Yet, women are largely under-represented as leaders in the corporate food industry.
The landscape changes, though, when you look at organic and specialty food companies here in the Bay Area. At Driver’s, we proudly stock a wealth of women-owned, fully independent brands (more than we could include in this piece – stay tuned for a follow up!)
If you’re looking for small ways to support women in business this month, look out for these Bay Area labels, always available at Driver’s Market. These products are award winners, best sellers, renowned trailblazers, and new endeavors. They are all founded and run by innovative women who are changing the grocery game.
Marin-based Boss Bikkie’s mission is to create gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan cookies. Founder Verity Breen, a native of Australia, is a competitive endurance athlete, and healthy food lover. Verity’s line of cookies follows in the footsteps of her family, who are award-winning bakers. In fact, the family’s competitive baking wins are not unlike Verity on the race course. Not just for athletes, Boss Bikkie cookies are a delicious, healthy alternative to traditional cookies. They can be eaten on the go as a quick snack, or savored as freshly-baked cookies.
GOLDEN STATE PICKLE WORKS
When Samantha Paone launched Golden State Pickle Works in 2014, her lacto-fermented veggies quickly started winning awards at Sonoma County’s annual Harvest Fair. A veteran of the Bay Area culinary scene, she knew there was a market for better pickles in grocery stores, and that the health benefits of probiotic foods are important for all. Based in Petaluma, Samantha sources produce from local organic farms. About fermentation, Samantha told the Argus Courier, “One of the things I really like about pickling is that it takes us back to a simpler time before there was so much commercialization of food.”
New! Ina Botanicals & Tea Founder and Herbalist, Bernadette Aguirre, opened her gateway to tea with a paper cup and tea bag of Earl Grey from her local New York City bodega over 15 years ago. With a worn down immune system and chronic stress she was reintroduced to herbs as wellness allies through an herbalist. From there she started her own path to plants for holistic support. Now as a Clinical Herbalist in San Francisco, she’s paired healing plant properties with her love for afternoon tea parties to handcraft delicious loose leaf blends.
There’s granola, and then there’s Nana Joes. It’s made in San Francisco by hand in a gluten-free kitchen, full of locally-sourced fruits and nuts, and sweetened only by maple syrup from an artisan producer on the East Coast. Former pastry chef Michelle Pusateri named it after her grandparents (one Nana, two Joes). “I was making my own granola and giving it away so others could enjoy it,” Michelle explains. “One afternoon my sweet boyfriend said ‘Why don’t you sell it?’”
She’s doing right by Nana and the Joes, and by anyone who appreciates great gluten-free foods.
Lindsay Ott came to the Bay Area in 2013 with her young son and a background in organic farming and midwifery. She understood a new mother’s needs and fused her passions into postpartum nutrition. In her quest to find kindred spirits, Lindsay contacted Jane Lin, owner of Mama Tong. Jane trained Lindsay in Chinese postpartum soups, indicating that she was ready to move on. Lindsay purchased the business and relaunched Mama Tong soups using organic ingredients and the highest quality Chinese herbs. ‘Tong’ means soup in Chinese!
“If you are having a bad day and want to make it better, have ice cream,” counsels Tara Esperanza. “If you are having a good day and you want to top it off, have ice cream.” We couldn’t agree more. Tara began making ice cream a decade ago in Santa Fe and set up shop in the East Bay a few years later. The organization goes out of its way to reduce its carbon footprint, and Tara says her interest in doing so motivated the move to the Bay Area. Tara’s Organic Ice Cream is hand crafted in small batches using the purest organic fruits from local farms.
“We’re about honoring the flavor and not the sweetness,” she says. Tara operates three shops in the East Bay, but you don’t have to cross the Bay to sample her flavors. We keep a selection of Tara’s Organic Ice Cream on hand for immediate, take-home delight.