An Interview with Edith Meyer
Sustainable and Organic Cakes in Santa CruzI love finding sustainable and organic vendors who are local. It brightens my day to know that there are vendors that people can go to right in their neighborhood who can help them create a beautiful and often tasty meal or party. One sustainable baker in the Santa Cruz area, who's name you might here in local circles, is Edith Meyer. Her cakes are artful and taste fantastic. Take a look:
This cake looks so decadent, and the berries are so festive and enticing.
I love the simple lines of this cake, very architectural. I imagine it going well with a garden party at Gatsby's house.
A few other cake designs that I really love are also featured on her website:
chocolate with cherry blossoms
powder blue with sugar ranunculusEdith Meyer was lovely enough to answer my usual set of questions about sustainable living, weddings and business. Take a look at her answers to my questions about why she started and how sustainability fits into weddings and living: 1. Why did you start your business and how did you decide to get involved in making organic/sustainable cakes?
One of my best friends who knew I liked to bake asked me to make her wedding cake. And it turned out to be a five-tiered, hand-painted, fondant-covered, crazy-elaborate undertaking. But I LOVED it. And it turns out that most wedding cakes actually aren't good - all the focus is on the design.
So I started the business to provide great-tasting cakes and desserts for weddings. An organic focus is honestly just a part of my lifestyle, which happens to translate very organically (pardon the pun) into the best-tasting products. You want your guests to enjoy every aspect of the wedding, and the dessert should be a part of that!
2. How would you define sustainable living?
In the most simple of terms, we need to be conscious of the impact that we have on the world around us, and take steps in as many areas of our lives as we can to reduce our negative impact.
3. What do you think is the biggest barrier in getting couples to choose a green/sustainable wedding?
Hm. My first instinct is to say cost, but I don't think that is really it. People see weddings as the one day when it IS about them, and when they CAN splurge, so they often don't want to make compromises like wearing a recycled dress or having a few less pieces of beautiful paper in the invitations. And I can understand that. (Although I think hemp silk dresses like those at conscious clothing should change EVERYONE'S mind!! ) Maybe choose SOME sustainable elements, like centerpieces, flowers, favors, and feel really good about those choices.
Lack of education is a barrier - people are still learning what "green" really means with respect to weddings. And there are some murky areas, like carbon offsets for your traveling guests. I don't think I'd recommend them until there is more transparency about where the money goes.
Luckily, as the green movement gathers steam there is a cache in identifying with it, and couples who live sustainably clearly want that reflected in their weddings. So I think the barriers are getting smaller.
There is NO barrier when it comes to edibles, I think (lucky for me!). Organic just tastes better, period. So spending a little more on food and dessert that tastes AMAZING is worth it to most people - they want to honor the guests who have come to honor the two of THEM, and serving a great meal is the best way to do that.
I honestly cannot tell you the number of clients who have been to a number of cake tastings, and after one bite they're sold. It is THAT different.
4. How is your business green/sustinable? What do you wish you could do or >have to make it more green or better for people and the planet?
Since day one, all of our cakes' ingredients are organic, and we source locally whenever possible. We work with local farmers to source everything from eggs and butter to berries and vegetables. Even our chocolates and coffee beans are organic and fair-trade.
My office is completely solar-powered; we recycle and compost everything we can - I even have a recycled-bottle cover for my iPhone (thank you, Agent 18! ).
My transportation is NOT hybrid, because a) it's older and paid for and I don't want to scrap it until it's necessary, and b) because the battery issues with hybrids still aren't ideal, I think. So I guess I wish I could have a teleportation device to just magically appear at far-away venues, cakes in hand. :)
5. What is the most un-green or unsustainable wedding practice that you can >think of or have seen in your experience?
As cool as they are, I think destination weddings to remote islands are pretty consumptive. Luckily they're also usually pretty small, so let's hope that helps offset the impact.
6. Let's pretend for a moment that you could create one green invention in your life (that worked) what would it be?
Hm - what a difficult, broad question. Tiny, incredibly efficient, non-polluting, affordable power sources for everyone? Tricky! In the meantime, we can all just manage ourselves as thoughtfully as possible. Thanks Edith for your answers and artistic talent! G&G