Gemma Edward Aron and Nicola Carey first became friends in the lower Haight. They gravitated to one another’s ideas and fun possible collaborations, morphing into a business partnership centered around bread making and recipes. 

In late 2023, they launched the concept of Madrona Bakery at 17 Madrona St. in downtown Mill Valley, focused around a community of “friends and family, a place to share what we love to make most,” Aron says.

In the many months that have followed, Madrona Bakery has been a downtown staple. In March 2024, Madrona was named one of the best bakeries in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now they’re ready for the next giant leap forward, as they’ll be serving an array of tasty treats at the 2024 Mill Valley Music Fest.

What should MVMF-goers expect from Madrona? Quick breads like biscuits, scones, banana bread, cookies and foccacia – “a nice thing to tuck in your pocket,” Aron says.

They’ll also be serving the always-delicious Four Barrel Coffee, including Iced Coffee and Iced teas via the Leaves and Flowers brand, which celebrates the ancient, intrinsic relationship between humans and plants. The iced tea is made out of a tea called Mountain Beautiful.

Carey’s breads and croissants are already the stuff of legend among those who make the trek to Madrona.

In those early days of 2023, the duo also got some high-minded, lazer-sharp insight from someone who knows a thing or two about the 17 Madrona space: Ged Robertson, whose iterations in that space span Small Shed Flatbreads, the late Todd Shoberg’s revered Molina restaurant, and briefly Pizza Molina. “Listen to your customers then listen to yourselves again,” Robertson told them. “And be your last advisor in the room.”

When Aron and Carey inquired about the space after Bootjack closed, he provided some sage advice about the history of the space and, most importantly, gave them crucial insight.

“Ged has been supportive and helpful in a way that was above and beyond what he needed to be – there were definitely times when he could have been less helpful,” Aron says. “This property was so personal to him.”


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