Bay Area couple create less sugary protein bar for kids
The inherently portable and energizing snack bar for kids is a convenience that’s here to stay. But a look at the labels under the hype brand often reveals a high amount of sugar that many parents prefer to avoid.
Why did young athletic couple Reid and Kassidy Pearson, who moved to Novato last year, decide to offer a healthy, less sugary, kid-friendly option called Zeek Bar?
Reid Pearson says that during his post-college years as a Little League baseball coach, parents often asked him for snack recommendations. He struggled to find a low-sugar, high-protein, good-tasting choice, so the University of Southern California graduate put his major in entrepreneurship to work on making a better bar .
It took him a few years to develop and refine the recipe with after-hours help from his wife, who is an executive business partner at Google. But after hundreds of iterations, they hit the mark – 5 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, and the right taste and consistency. Their “Kids Protein Bar” is naturally sweetened and stabilized with honey and comes in two flavors – Cosmic Cookie Dough and Brownie Blast Off.
The Pearsons plan to put children at the center of their business, including their 2-year-old when he’s ready. Earlier this week, they launched a crowdfunding campaign to not only raise enough capital to allow them to expand their distribution centers, but also to empower their young consumers. This means involving them in product development and packaging while providing behind-the-scenes training on how to start and run a business.
“Entrepreneurship has been a powerful force in my life, and I want to teach kids what it means to start a business and make a difference,” Reid Pearson said in a press release. “Our hope is that the families who have supported us from the start will grow with us into a national brand.”
Why Zeek? “It means ‘to the stars’ in ancient Greek,” Reid says of the space theme, which symbolically inspires children to imagine possibilities, dream big and chase the stars.
The bars are available in Northern California at many Whole Foods, Woodlands Market, and Nugget Markets, as well as nationwide on Amazon.
The sweetness of the hearth
Waldscraft Cottage Bakery in Mill Valley wraps up its endless journey from the permanent floor pop-up with last weekend’s launch at 31 Sunnyside Ave. in the space previously occupied by West Coast Wine • Cheese.
During the unveiling, tables covered in sweet and savory temptations lined the sidewalk in front of the store. Bakers and helpers served the day’s selections – natural sourdough breads (rosemary olive oil; spelled and rye country sourdough); pancakes (zucchini tomato pesto; spinach, mushroom cheese; apple); scones (herb cheddar; lemon ginger cranberry); tart (fig frangipane); muffins (flax oats; blueberry cream); cookies (vegan peanut butter; triple ginger molasses; chocolate buckwheat; adventure bars); sweet breads (courgettes lemon rosemary; apple); and chocolate beet cake.
The caffeine (drip coffee and cold brew) comes from Bicycle Coffee Co, a 13-year-old company based in Oakland.
“Not only are their values and mission aligned with ours, but their coffees are exceptional,” says owner Stacey Waldspurger of the partnership.
Although the space is well-equipped, Waldspurger refreshed the mood, changing black and gray tones suitable for an evening wine bar to softer blues and whites. Two walls of windows further illuminate the interior of the showcase where tables are set up to linger.
In June, when planning to rent what had been a temporary pop-up at 17 Madrona St. didn’t pan out, Waldspurger began a mad dash to find a residence for his two-year-old, originally home-based bakery.
She credits her community for being the focus of her entrepreneurial efforts. In particular, she mentions the 130 people who helped her raise $100,000 through crowdfunding to upgrade her kitchen and equipment.
“Everyone who donates money receives a residual on earned income paid out quarterly,” she says.
For now, baking is taking place in a commissary space in Mill Valley until a bakery facility in San Rafael is ready for occupancy. When it opens, it will service retail outlet, wholesale accounts, catering concerts and special events.
Waldscraft Cottage Bakery is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and Thursdays starting in October at 31 Sunnyside Ave. waldscraft.com.
You can also find the bakery on the second Sunday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the French Market Marin, a monthly outdoor antique fair in the parking lot of the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael. The next market will be on October 9.
Waldscraft, Boo Koo, Gravity Tavern and Mill Valley Market are serving the food from 1 to 6 p.m. on September 25 during the Mill Valley Community Day, benefiting Kiddo!, the Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation.
A beer garden, fashion show and live music by San Francisco songwriter Matt Jaffe with the ’85s dance band can be found on Miller Avenue between Throckmorton and Sunnyside. Children’s activities take place at Depot Plaza.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance writer and food columnist. Email her at [email protected] with news and recommendations and follow her on Instagram @therealdealmarin for more local food and updates on the launch of The Restaurant Guide Real Deal Marine.