A Conversation with Moonshot

We sat down with Julia Collins, founder of Moonshot Snacks, to chat about the incredible work they do that goes way beyond producing some of the most delicious crackers around. Among their line of craveworthy snacks are two of our favorites: the Rosemary & Garlic Crackers and the Tomato & Basil variety. At Moonshot, it’s their top priority to develop delicious, carbon neutral products that are good for both the planet and the people in it. Read on to learn more about this incredible company!

Julia Collins, founder of Moonshot Snacks

How did the idea for the business come about?

I truly believe that every single person has the right to be a part of the solution to climate change. When I learned that more than a third of human-made greenhouse gas emissions come from land use and food systems, I realized that there was an opportunity to take action. With Moonshot, I wanted to do more than just create one carbon neutral snack brand. I wanted to build a climate-friendly food movement, inviting all people to take part in one of the best solutions to climate change. Because I believe that if you want to change the world, change food.

Before creating Moonshot, I did a lot of research about sustainable food systems and regenerative agriculture and realized that regenerative agriculture needed to be the foundation of our snack. As I began looking for the right ingredients, I realized that it would be possible to not only source from great farmers but also promote the kind of agriculture that helps to improve biodiversity, protect ecosystems, and protect our planet by drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil.

Fighting climate change is the core tenet of the brand, can you speak a little more on your mission and how it’s evolved throughout the business’s growth?

At Moonshot, our ultimate goal is to build a climate-friendly food movement that unites all people in a delicious community of climate action! While there is no silver bullet solution to the climate crisis, we do believe that we can all eat our way to a better future. The way that we engage people in this movement is to create truly delicious products that people love.

In dreaming of the best product to create we got really excited about snacks because snacking accounts for 50% of all eating occasions and 94% of people say they snack at least once a day. That’s a lot of snacking and people who snack deserve to eat food that is tasty, good for their bodies and good for the earth.

Our mission has been and always will be to fight climate change while protecting people and the planet. Climate change isn’t just about CO2, it’s about people. That’s why we are so interested in using our voice within the world of snacks to help our customers connect with stories of regenerative agriculture, healthier food systems and net zero products. That’s why we work tirelessly to not only educate our snackers on the impact food has on the earth, but about the intersection of climate justice and social justice.

We also want to recognize and celebrate that the sustainable farming practices we use to grow our wheat – regenerative agriculture – are rooted in indigenous wisdom. Our packaging recognizes that our headquarters sits on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Yelamu tribe, in what’s also known as San Francisco. We are the first CPG brand to include a land acknowledgment and a definition for regenerative agriculture on our packaging. We believe that educating our consumers is a vital component of the larger work we are doing to recognize and include indigenous communities and ancestral wisdom in our work.

Being a Black women-owned business is something to celebrate–can you share any positive experiences through that lens or any role models or inspiration you’ve had on this journey?

One of the many beautiful things about being a Black woman, building a business is that I feel a deep connection and an ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Because I carry the lived experience of being an “other” I can truly connect and empathize with anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t quite belong. And it turns out that so many people, maybe the majority of people have at one time felt that they were misjudged, or totally left out because of some element of their identity. Being different has made me lean into being inclusive. When you look at the team that we have assembled around Moonshot and Planet FWD, from our core team to all of our partners and investors, you’ll see that we are perhaps the most radically diverse team in our sector. This is something that I feel really proud of.

I’ve had countless role models in my life, particularly as I’ve stepped deeper into the work of working to solve climate change, but the person who has been most influential through every phase of my life has been my mom. She has taught me the power of poise and as I watch her seamlessly navigate the many circles of her life, as a company executive, a wife, a mother and a grandmother, I see that all things are possible.

Obviously, regenerative agriculture and climate-friendly ingredients are a must for your make process, but how do you go about choosing those ingredients as well as the different flavors you produce? How’d you choose your production partners?

When I set out to create Moonshot I hadn’t a clue of what kind of snack I wanted to make. I just knew I wanted it to be the first climate-friendly snack to exist, to pave the way for others behind us. In a way, I feel as though crackers chose me.

When I set out to create a snack, I first connected with an absolutely amazing miller named Kevin Morse at Cairnspring Mills, based in the Skagit Valley of Washington. Next, he introduced me to an incredible family-owned 4th-generation farm, and now 1st-generation regenerative farm just down the road, Hedlin Farms. Hedlin Farms grows the most flavorful wheat using regenerative practices, like cover cropping and crop rotation that build nutrients in the soil while protecting the soil and our planet.

After some initial recipe testing with the flour from their wheat, crackers became a clear choice. We’ve also come to appreciate the simplicity of crackers as a conduit for our message of a climate-friendly future. I know I’m biased, but they quickly became my favorite crackers, due to the intense flavor and quality of the wheat grown at Hedlin Farms and the stone milling done at Cairnspring that creates depths of flavor in the wheat.

From there, we chose flavors that are easy to pair or enjoy solo. Sourdough is a San Francisco tradition and felt like a must-have. Rosemary Garlic is a classic for pairing with great cheeses, one of my first food love affairs developed during my time working at Murray’s in New York. And lastly, given my history with pizza, we really wanted to do our own spin on a pizza flavor – which is where Tomato Basil comes into play.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Moonshot Crackers? Any favorite pairings in particular?

I eat so many Moonshot crackers that I have a favorite for each flavor. I find that Champagne pairs nicely with Sourdough Sea Salt. I really love to pair Tomato Basil with hummus and Sourdough Sea Salt with tomato soup. I love Rosemary Garlic with goat cheese and preserved lemon! They’re also delicious on their own, I tend to keep a bowl next to my laptop throughout the workday.

Can you speak to what’s next for Moonshot or any goals for the future?

We’re currently working on developing new flavors for our cracker, which is very exciting. We can’t wait for you all to enjoy what’s next. In this process, we’re working closely with our farmers to figure out the right ingredients and flavors that are both super tasty and climate-friendly.

We’re also looking to a future beyond crackers, as we expand Moonshot snacks into new varieties and formats. We plan to continue partnering with farmers to make the most flavorful, diversified and sustainable decisions possible. This means looking at other grains, what grows best on a farmers’ land and asking the right questions to figure out how to achieve our climate impact goals through our sustainable sourcing.

And of course, we’re always excited to keep expanding the climate-friendly food movement we’re building and welcoming more people in!

We have a vision for all food brands to reach carbon neutrality by understanding, reducing and neutralizing their carbon footprints. We believe in this vision so much that we actually designed a technology platform that is managed by our sister company, Planet FWD to help brands do just that, because we are so much stronger when we work together.

With a firsthand knowledge of Murray’s, is there anything else you think our customers should know about Moonshot

In many ways, my experience working at Murray’s early in my food career gave me the confidence to build my own brand. I remember watching in awe as all of these amazing producers would launch new products right there at the Bleecker Street store. I have always loved how Murray’s centers producers and gives voice to smaller brands who are making a big difference in the world.

Murray’s is so magical not only for their vast and unique cheese offerings but your incredible accouterment that can really make your charcuterie board shine. So I say pair often and with every combination on your cheeseboard! You’d be surprised how the earthy tones of Rosemary Garlic can be complemented by the sweetness of an apple or pumpkin butter or how the Sourdough cracker crumble can bring together a gourmet mac and cheese.

Want to find out more about Moonshot Snacks? Visit their website or shop their crackers at Murray’s!

Murray’s Holiday Gift Guide 2021 Blog

With the holidays looking a little more normal this year, we’re reminded that the greatest gift is simply being together with friends and family. But if you’re looking to make your loved ones feel even more special, our annual Gift Guide makes it easy to find unique and heartfelt gifts. With stunning platters, virtual classes, and innovative cookware, the holidays are guaranteed to be full of love, joy, and cheese.

Seasonal Spreads

Our seasonal collections are a crowd-pleasing and delicious way to show how much you care. This year, we’ve curated some brand-new collections in addition to our signature classics to bring an impressive array of cheeses, meats, and other treats to your holiday feasts.

The Brie Lover’s Collection: This luxurious trio of double crèmebrie, black truffle honey, and Moka pecans is perfect for small get-togethers and elegant holiday happy hours. Our buttery Brie is bursting with a creamy decadence that’s a match made in heaven for Truffle Honey and cocoa-dusted caramelized pecans.

Cheddar Lover’s Collection: This original collection puts an emphasis on snackability with two sweet, grassy cheddars, creamy cheddar curds, a robust beef salami, and a bright bite of fruit jam. Serve it up with rustic crackers and nuts for a grazing plate that’ll be a hit at any holiday party.

Top Shelf

Top Shelf: Your search for peak cheese decadence ends here. From truffle-infused cheeses to our best blues and timeless stunners like Epoisses and Parmigiano Reggiano, this selection of top-tier cheese boasts some equally excellent accompaniments like real honeycomb and cherry preserves. 

Holiday Feast: This decadent feast is all the essential tastes of the holidays made gift-able! Three deliciously luxurious cheeses chosen by our expert mongers pair perfectly with cranberry orange jam, prosciutto and crackers for an impressive spread that’s bursting with holiday flavor.

Give the Gift of Murray’s Monthly Clubs

Our monthly clubs are the gifts that keep on giving all year long! We guarantee that loved ones near and far will feel excitement and joy every time they receive a Murray’s shipment.

Mac and Cheese of the Month Club

New! Mac and Cheese of the Month Club: Everyone’s favorite comfort food gets an upgrade with these monthly shipments of one Classic Mac and one Specialty Mac. Our Specialty Mac selections rotate each month, allowing you to try a range of our seasonal favorites such as Buffalo Chicken, French Onion, Truffle Mac, and more.

Classic Cheese of the Month Club: The perfect gift for classic cheese lovers and cheese newbies alike, this rotating collection of 3-4 approachable and iconic cheeses will delight any palate. Our specially selected cheeses range from the most delectable cheddars and triple creams to the brightest goat cheeses and most savory washed rind wheels.

For the Host or Hostess

Whether you’re throwing a holiday bash or looking for a thoughtful gift your hosts will truly appreciate, our tools of the trade can help make any party a success.

Brie Baker Hosting Set: A must-have for the home chef, this trio includes a stylish Boska ceramic cheese baker, a creamy wheel of Murray’s Mini Brie, and a delectably rich fig spread so you’ll be able to craft the perfect cheesy, melted delight in just minutes. Serve it up with crackers for an easy, crowd-pleasing cheese dish without the prep work.

Raclette Quattro: Be the life of the party with this professional-grade raclette machine from Holland-based Boska. Perfect for creating decadent melts over burgers, veggies, and just about anything else that deserves a serving of hot, gooey cheese (most things, in our opinion), this black metal stand features a heat lamp and a wire that can hold up to a quarter of a wheel of raclette.

Be Home Marble & Acacia Board with Small Drawer

This gorgeous marble cheese board doubles as a cutting board and includes a small pocket drawer, which slides out to reveal a three-piece stainless steel cheese serving set. Handcrafted from dazzling white marble and rich acacia, this is sourced from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, and made by talented artisans in India.

Makers We Love:

Murray’s partners with standout makers from around the globe to bring artisanal small business products to your pantry.

Rustic Bakery: Naturally leavened flatbreads. Pecan and cranberry crostinis. Meyer lemon shortbreads. Mini gingerbread. There’s a reason this small Bay Area operation is our go-to for fine cheese accompaniments: their items are of the highest quality and made from the freshest ingredients.

Rustichella D’Abruzzo: Renowned for their authentic Italian pasta, Rustichella D’Abruzzo harvests local heirloom wheat during the summer to produce a toasty, textured, and undeniably tasty pasta. Their panettone, a mainstay of the Italian Christmas dinner, is studded with candied fig and dark chocolate for a taste like a cross between a challah and a babka. With a cup of coffee, it’s also the perfect breakfast on a cozy winter morning.

Easy Gifting:

Searching for a last-minute gift for a long-distance relative or hard-to-please friend? We’ve got something for even the trickiest, pickiest names on your list.

Classes: We’ve designed both in-person and virtual educational classes where you can enjoy some Cheese 101 with our expert instructors while tasting through a flight of premium cheeses. Tickets to our online classes include a shipment of four cheeses and accompaniments– enough for four people to take the class.

A Murray’s gift card: The easiest way to give your loved one gift you know they’ll enjoy is to surprise them with an all-inclusive pass to the world of cheese! Perfect for shopping our award-winning selections of cheese, meats, and gourmet groceries.

Still feeling the holiday spirit? Check out our Holiday Gifts and Recipes for more of the season’s cheesiest gift and entertaining ideas.

A Conversation with Cru Chocolate

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we sat down with Karla McNeil-Rueda, co-founder of Cru Chocolate, a certified B-Corp that takes pride in sourcing its cacao from the Caribbean and Mesoamerica. Karla has an educational background in Engineering and Sustainability, and studied at the Chocolate Institute of Latin America and the Caribbean. Together with her partner, Eddie Houston, they founded Cru Chocolate. We spoke with Karla about ingredient sourcing, labor in the chocolate industry and how her heritage continues to influence her relationship with food.

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A Conversation With Charlito’s Cocina

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we sat down with Charles “Charlito” Wekselbaum, founder of Queens, New York’s Charlito’s Cocina, a beloved producer of hand cured meats made using traditional Spanish techniques. Founded in 2011, this growing operation focuses on using simple, premium ingredients to craft mouthwatering charcuterie infused with the wisdom of generations. We spoke to Charles about his own heritage and how that background influences his relationship with food today.

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