Few items on the shelves of Alaska’s marijuana shops are as recognizable as MoMo’s Bakery’s tall white pop-tops emblazoned with a yellow and blue logo.
Those containers are filled with a wide variety of tasty, THC-infused goodies like April’s Lemon Dreams shortbread cookies, molasses ginger Crinkles cookies, granola Canna Chews bars and mini pecan pie Tea Tassies, just to name a few.
MoMo’s Bakery opened in 2017, making it one of the first edibles bakeries to hit the market after legalization. If you wanted to try edibles in those early days, you were almost certainly trying a MoMo’s Bakery creation.
That might sound like a dream for owners Maureen and Pete Eberhardt, but it was close to a nightmare for a business that was intended to be a small, boutique bakery.
“We were the only edible manufacturer in the state, and it was not fun,” Pete recalled. “It was not a good time because we were never set up to be a high-volume facility and the demand was overwhelming. We were not making friends.”
Strictly a wholesale seller, MoMo’s Bakery found itself fielding orders from retailers all over the state, and it reached a point where they had to limit orders.
At the same time, the couple was dealing with the same headaches many faced in the early days of the fledgling marijuana industry. There were difficulties navigating the regulatory structure — their Canna Chews couldn’t be called granola and their Boingos gummies couldn’t be called gummies — and it took time to figure out the workflow at the business.
In those early years, MoMo’s Bakery employed night and weekend shifts just to meet demand.
“We were so busy,” Maureen said.
But with time came experience as well as more edibles manufacturers to help ease demand, and today MoMo’s Bakery has settled into a more comfortable pace.
On a November afternoon, everything about MoMo’s Bakery — tucked away in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood — has the feel of a home kitchen at holiday cookie-baking time.
Maureen sat at a table with manager Amy Ewing and Sophie Dye, chatting about streaming shows and movies, while cutting up dough, weighing and rolling out portions and dusting them in sugar. There’s a neat efficiency gained through thousands of small batches of cookies.
It doesn’t take long before a big sheet of Crinkles popped out of the oven.
The shop is surprisingly small, equipped with commercial refrigerators, a single oven and a variety of other gadgets to make the bakery’s goods.
It’s a dream job for baker and candy maker April Luce, who was busy with a specialized machine that pours THC-infused gummies known as Boingos. With the bright smell of strawberries in the air, Luce explained that cooking and baking have always been a passion and that working at MoMo’s Bakery has helped her make a career out of it.
“For me, it’s kind of like an art. You really get to express yourself,” she said. “I’ve been so lucky to work here. They’ve been really open to working with us to get our input, weigh in on the products. It’s very much a family vibe and I like that.”
Luce helped develop the recipe for April’s Lemon Dreams and has helped develop the bakery’s gummies as well as other products that are in development.
Many of the recipes are inspired by cookie recipes used by Maureen’s mother and grandmother, adapted into small bite-sized portions that pack a just-right 5mg dose of THC. That family vibe runs core to the business — the name MoMo’s Bakery was inspired by a nephew who called Maureen “Auntie MoMo.”
That dedication to family and quality has paid off, earning MoMo’s Bakery an excellent reputation for creating consistent and tasty edibles that don’t have a strong marijuana flavor.
“If you’re going to eat an edible, you want to enjoy it,” Maureen said, adding that there have been requests to sell non-infused edibles so people can keep snacking after taking their first edible. “If you don’t have consistency, you don’t have anything.”
Looking ahead, MoMo’s Bakery plans on introducing new products a few times a year, cycling through different recipes to meet the season and demands of the market. They’re not particularly keen on expanding because it would mean shifting away from the pace that they’ve found.
“We love doing what we’re doing. It’s a nice lifestyle and it’s fun to meet the people, so we’re happy to be doing what we’re doing, and right now it’s status quo for the foreseeable future,” Pete said.
“We want to have a life,” Maureen said. “When we first opened, we were so busy, and we were working so hard. If I was 30 or 40, we might think about expanding, but we’re not.”
“I’m 65 years old and this is way harder than I ever worked in the ad business,” Pete said as they both laugh, “but I’m happier.”
Matt Buxton is a freelance writer in Anchorage. Comments about this story? Email editor@AlaskaCannabist.com.