Treats are more than just sweets to us. Treats are those sensual indulgences that light you up and bring you innocent childlike happiness. And it’s totally subjective. Smoked sea salt, roasted nuts, raw milk, a wild strawberry if you’re out in the woods, or a finely crafted cocktail. Enjoyment for enjoyment’s sake is a gift of being alive! No matter how simple your diet, there’s always an abundance of treats.
While we weren’t aware of it when this food started happening, we have an affinity for the medicine of plants as visual inspiration, aromatherapy and incense, taste bud enchantment, and master teacher-healers on the material, mental and spiritual planes. So perhaps it was just meant to be. And we do love tropical fruity smoothie bowls and things of that sort. There’s also been a collective overindulgence in animal products over the last few decades, heavily marketed by the deeply-subsidized meat, dairy, pesticide, GMO/biotech and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the USDA and other agencies. This has created a mess of bodily and ecological crises that food choices have great power to address. Offering nutritious plant-centric food made with simple ingredients is both something we enjoy as well a gesture of activism.
Are you a gluten free and dairy free company?
Yes. Grain (gluten) free and plant-centric (dairy/egg free) food is our specialty, although it’s not because we believe these ingredients are inherently bad. It’s more of a fun creative challenge that’s necessary for a lot of us at the moment. We love quality aged cheese and a real fermented loaf of sourdough. But so many people, including us, have experienced wheat’s ‘brain fog’. A cereal diet is no good for keeping your gut’s microbiome world happy either. In general, the American grain-dairy-sugar diet creates a slow, lethargic mind and body. Also, whether it’s refined sugar or refined wheat or pasteurized dairy, highly processed ingredients of any sort tend to create more addiction and imbalances than their wholefood counterparts. Grains are probably best whole, with seed (germ and bran included), and soaked and/or fermented. Milk, butter, cheese and yogurt is best raw, cultured, and aged. Sweets are best when enjoyed in moderation, and sugar needn’t be separated from it’s natural mineral-rich color.
Are you a vegan company?
Somewhat. Our cashew cheeses are ‘vegan’ but three of our four nutbutter cups have honey in them (see ingredients page for info on our very special honey). There are plenty of ecological reasons to be intentional about where animal products come from, or to avoid them altogether at this point in time. And yet, large scale or inorganic agriculture and the mistreatment of non-animal based ecosystems is equally as detrimental. We believe that the ability to live in the wake of one’s consequences, including the impact of every consuming choice we make, is to be fully human. Whether this obliges a strictly plantbased diet, we’re not clear.
Are you a paleo company?
For the most part – aside from the peanuts and possibly buckwheat groats, our products are considered ‘paleo’. While we appreciate low-carb wholefood grainfree eating (and spent 15 months on the GAPS diet) we believe that a truly paleo experience involves eating what grows abundantly where we live, and drinking water that flows from the ground. This connects us to the land in a most nourishing way. It is the most grounding type of eating. There’s nothing inherently paleo about eating domesticated crops from some far off exotic land, no matter how unrefined they are.
Are your products certified organic?
No. Perhaps someday, but not at the moment. We use the best ingredients we can find, all of which are certified organic if possible, some biodynamic, and certainly non-GMO. We value being transparent about our sourcing much more than approval from a federal agency’s branding program that promotes a narrow, catch-phrase shopping mentality. Many large organizations including the USDA directly and indirectly rely on support from corporations that profit from misinformed consumers eating an imbalanced, GMO and pesticide-driven, illness-causing diet. The USDA organic logo is a helpful tool for shoppers to make a quick decision, but it’s also oppressive to small businesses that would love to use the phrase “made with organic…” on their packaging, but cannot due to FDA regulations. As long as shoppers and natural food stores continue to support businesses that aren’t certified, such as Cobb’s, we may keep these organizations in check and maintain accessibility for other artisan startups to offer their products.
Do you use sustainable packaging?
We like to minimize waste and support innovative companies that are doing ‘green’ packaging. However, after significant investments into sampling ‘compostable’ materials for our cup bags, we were disillusioned when a entrepreneur friend informed us about the gimmicks of the green packaging industry and its failure to actually create benefit in our waste streams. There are plenty of online sources explaining the intricacies, here are one and two. We do still use corn-based bioplastics for our cashew cheese as the crops are more renewable than oil, although these companies do accept some GMO crops in their mix which is something consumers don’t hear about. Here’s a list of materials currently required for each end product:
Cups: bags: metalized polypropylene (landfill) / unbleached muffin liners (compostable) / case boxes: recycled paperboard with natural rubber bands (compostable) / unbleached labels (compostable) / shipping boxes: recycled corrugated cardboard (compostable) with biodegradable felt insulation and biodegradable cold packs
Cheese: containers: Fabri-Kal Greenware PLA (commercially compostable) / locally printed & cut clay-coated wraparound labels (compostable) / glue adhesive (landfill) / case boxes: recycled corrugated cardboard (compostable) / unbleached labels (compostable) / shipping boxes: recycled corrugated cardboard (compostable) with biodegradable felt insulation and biodegradable cold packs
Dragonfly appeared in our minds as a symbol that we both felt an affinity for. Then a beautiful one died by our backyard and Stephen decided to keep it on a bed of moss inside a jar. Then we asked an artist friend to paint us a dragonfly for our front doorway. Then we learned more about it and it started to appear more. Dragonfly is a symbol of transformation. It spends most of its life under water, then climbs out of the water, sheds its old nymph shell, and emerges with wings as an entirely new creature. It’s quick, it hunts, it’s strong, it has incredible sight and balance, it comes in a zillion magnificent colors, and its genetics have barely needed to change over its 300+ million year evolution. To us, dragonfly represents a rebirth process, which as young adults we find ourselves in the wake of. It’s also a symbol of the natural world and all our nonhuman relations.
Why don't your cheeses have nutrition facts on them?
The numbers for fermented cashews aren’t something we can accurately calculate based on raw ingredients and we haven’t yet felt obligated to invest in sending our cheese to a lab. Our chocolate cups are straightforward, so we’ve added the panels, as small and out of the way as possible. We don’t resonate with what Michael Pollan calls nutritionism – the paradigm that assumes that the nutritional value of a food is the sum of all its individual scientifically-identified constituents. It doesn’t feel right. It’s a shallow way of relating to food that seems to generate more neuroses than wellness. You see a similar phenomenon in medicine. Until a few generations ago we used whole plants to balance the inner human ecology; now we use concentrated doses of the ‘active constituents’ to the exclusion of all others in order to attack presumed agents of disease, typically with a slew of side effects. These views are reflective of an imbalanced culture at large: reductionist, compartmentalized, mechanistic and dominator-based. Ever wonder why America is so relatively unhealthy while simultaneously having the foremost nutrition-concerned food culture? ‘Nutrition facts’ panels serve as an advertisement for this sort of constituent-based thinking. But the FDA and most bigger markets require them, so we play along.