Lindsey Rosenberg’s plant-based mixes cut out the need for eggs and milk
Story by Jessica Koslow | Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner
It’s 10:30 a.m. on a Monday, and Cherryvale Farms founder Lindsey Rosenberg is already on her second meeting. That alone is not such a great feat, until you factor in that she’s nine months pregnant, the mother of a two-year-old daughter, and that her company — which produces 100% plant-based baking mixes and on-the-go treats — is undergoing a brand redesign. And yet the 34-year-old is the image of calm and control.
“My inbox is only at 36,” she says with a smile when I ask if she’s overwhelmed every day.
We’re sitting comfortably in the front lounge of her husband’s ad agency in Playa Vista.
“After USC, I worked in fashion and entertainment for a few years,” Rosenberg shares. “And I was ready for a big change.”
Change meant going back to the farm — literally. Rosenberg grew up in Soquel, just south of Santa Cruz, population 1,000. Her parents still live on their hobby farm, growing fruits and vegetables on Cherryvale Avenue.
Rosenberg and her father, a veteran entrepreneur, set out to create a brand out of the Cherryvale Farms story.
“I bake from scratch,” Rosenberg says, “but I’m also at the top end of the millennial generation. Sometimes you don’t have eggs or milk in fridge, and you don’t want to buy a dozen eggs for one cake mix. I realized there was a need for easy, allergen-friendly baking mixes that taste good. With our baking mixes, you don’t add eggs, milk or butter. You just add fresh fruit, a vegetable or nuts, and oil and water. You don’t need to break out the mixing bowls.”
“Everyone has bananas going bad by Friday in your pantry,” she adds, breaking into an infectious giggle.
And it’s hard to remember to leave the butter out to soften.
Cherryvale Farms products are vegan — egg-free, dairy-free and soy-free — and use a plant-based egg replacer.
In 2011, Rosenberg and her dad debuted their baking mixes, including banana and pumpkin spice bread, peanut butter and oatmeal cookies, blueberry muffin, chocolate brownie and cornbread.
The brand took off in the Bay Area, flying off the shelves of stores like Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl and Draeger’s Market. The Bay Area is still one of the company’s best-selling regions.
Cherryvale Farms expanded nationwide in 2014, and the following year Rosenberg moved her base of operations to Los Angeles. The brand is currently sold in 5,000 stores nationwide.
Just last year, Rosenberg and her team decided they wanted to move beyond the mom-and-pop label.
In January, they launched Instant Indulgence™ Mug Cake Mixes — you just add water to the mix and microwave for one minute — and in September, Love It!® Baked Muffin Bars. Mug Cake flavors include rich chocolate brownie, salted caramel chocolate and birthday cake, and the baked muffin bar choices are cherry vanilla, blueberry lemon and banana chocolate.
“I’m very excited about the bars and ready-to-eat snacks,” Rosenberg says. “We’re growing in Albertsons, Safeway, Ralphs and Kroger.”
For now, Playa Vista residents can find Cherryvale Farms baking mixes in Whole Foods, the Mug Cake Mixes on Amazon, and Baked Muffin Bars in Smart & Final. And, of course, all of the products are available on their website.
“We do very well online because our customer wants ultimate convenience,” says Rosenberg.
Her customers also have special dietary needs.
“I have a customer in Alaska,” Rosenberg says, “and she has a son with special needs. He’s picky about his diet. He eats our banana bread every week, so she special orders the mix, and I send it to her every week.”
Rosenberg also fields questions from customers about dressing up the mixes.
“People ask, ‘Can I add chocolate chips, or cranberries, or bake muffins instead of bread?’” she says. (I substituted almond butter in the peanut butter cookie mix, without asking, and they were delicious!)
While Cherryvale Farms recipes do use organic cane sugar, most of the sweetness from, for instance, the banana mix comes from three bananas.
“My daughter loves the bars,” says Rosenberg. “She calls them cookies because they’re sweet and sort of round.”
In the next few days, Rosenberg’s family is about to get bigger. Even with her son on the way, she doesn’t plan on slowing down.
“The best part of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility,” she says. “I love that I can give people good food, and they can give it to their kids.”