North Beach resident Colleen Yerge never planned to become a baker. It all started with a baby.
Yerge, who works as a postpartum doula—helping new moms with emotional and practical support after childbirth—started baking three years ago, when a client of hers had trouble producing breast milk.
She created a recipe for a cookie that includes oats, flax seed and brewer's yeast, ingredients that can naturally help women with a low milk supply after giving birth. A year and a half later, she decided to open up her own business, called Mama's Cookies, and sell the treats to anyone who wanted a healthy alternative.
Currently, Yerge only sells one type of cookie, with ingredients like 64 percent dark chocolate, blanched almonds, oats, and a secret array of spices. She doesn't plan to expand with more varieties. "I like the idea that it's a specialty cookie," she said.
Mama's Cookies are also vegan, gluten-free and low-glycemic, making them an option for those with dietary restrictions. "I wanted to make a snack that everyone could enjoy," she said.
Yerge says her cookies aren't just beneficial for new mothers. She told us that many athletes enjoy them as well "because of the clean-burning fuel they provide, and the muscle-building nutrients, such as coconut oil and flax seed." She also said they're a good option for people with diabetes, and for families who want to give their kids a treat "without having them bounce off the walls due to too much sugar."
Thanks to the Cottage Food Act, implemented in 2013, Yerge is certified to prepare the cookies for sale out of her home. "A health inspector comes out to take a look at your kitchen, and make sure that everything is sanitary and fit for commercial production," she said.
Her goal is to expand the business, and she's currently looking for new vendors to sell her product. Her goal is to work only with community-minded businesses, like Rainbow Grocery in the Mission. As demand increases, though, she may need to find a larger commercial kitchen to work in, as her tiny home kitchen won't be able to handle the volume.
Mama's Cookies can be purchased online through Yerge's website. You can also pick them up at two spots in North Beach: Caffe Sapore (790 Lombard St.) and Carmel Blue (1418 Grant Ave.) and at the Mission's Natural Resources (1367 Valencia St.) A box of a dozen cookies runs $30, and retail stores sell two for $5–6, depending on the location. She also offers free delivery in San Francisco.
Never miss a story.
Subscribe today to get Hoodline delivered straight to your inbox.