At the 34th Annual Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting on May 31 in downtown Mill Valley, the moms behind Batter World and Carrot Top Treats will be dishing out treats and celebrating their success. They have their kids to thank for it.

Batter World co-founders Leigh Judson and Nicole Palmer. Courtesy image.


Carrot Top Treats co-founders Karen Olson, center, and Kristin Silmore, right, and their families, including the red-headed inspirations for their moniker. Courtesy image.


When Nicole Palmer and Leigh Judson recently needed a model to be on a promotional banner for their year-old Batter World pancake batter, they chose their friend Karen Olson’s son Braden.

The red-headed sixth grader is far from the only thing Palmer, Judson, Olson and friend Kristin Silmore have in common.

At the 34th Annual Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting on May 31 in downtown Mill Valley, the four moms will be showcasing Batter World and Carrot Top Treats, two of the tastiest businesses in the 94941 – and they have their kids to thank for it. The women are among the nearly 30 gourmet food purveyors participating in the event, along with more than 65 premium wineries, 11 breweries and 12 local restaurants and chefs.

Palmer and Judson, who met at the sandbox in Julius Kahn Playground in San Francisco where their respective kids were playing, are serving up Batter World, their pancake batter made with all-natural ingredients and sold fresh-frozen in a re-sealable pouch to preserve nutrients and taste.

In just a year since its inception, demand for Batter World has exploded – it’s available at 90 stores, including Mill Valley Market, the longtime sponsor and curator of the landmark local event on May 31st event.

“Making pancakes from scratch is a hassle – and so is cleanup,” Palmer says. “You can cook this batter on the griddle within minutes, and you feel like a hero in the morning.”

Palmer, who lives in the Alto neighborhood, says Batter World’s big break was connecting with distributor Tony’s Fine Foods in Sacramento.

“Before that, we were just delivering it ourselves in our cars,” she says with a laugh.

At a nearby table on May 31, Olson and Silmore will be dishing out their almost criminally tasty-yet-healthy Carrot Top Treats. The moniker hails their red-headed sons, Oliver and Braden, who hit it off in kindergarten at Edna Maguire and have stayed friends ever since – as have their moms.

Carrot Top’s fare at the May 31st Gourmet Food Tasting will include brownies, molasses whoopee pies, salted caramel and Oreo sugar cookies. The 2014 edition of the signature local event served as a coming-out party of sorts for Carrot Top Treats, as Mill Valley Market had just begun carrying their products.

Silmore and Olson, who hit it off over a love of baking, began exchanging recipes and eventually supplying school fundraisers and their kids’ sporting events with their treats. When they proved a huge hit at a fundraiser for the Edna Maguire Garden in 2013, they decided to step it up. The pair took advantage of the then-fledgling Cottage Food Operations legislation signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, allowing home kitchens to be certified for legal sale of goods.

Now Silmore and Olson are striking a balance between spreading the word about their products without growing faster than they can handle right now. In addition to the Market, Carrot Top Treats are available at Juice Girl, where owner Melora Johnson can barely keep up with her customers’ – mostly moms and Tam High and Middle School students – insatiable appetite for Carrot Top Treats. Scott Valley Swimming and Tennis Club and Coyote Coffee in Tam Junction also carry Carrot Top Treats, and Silmore and Olson have expanded into catering, even making treats for their realtor friends’ open houses.

“We’re totally happy where the business is right now,” Silmore says. “We’re full-time moms, we love what we’re doing with Carrot Top Treats and we’re both still able to absolutely enjoy where we live.”

The 411: Visit their websites for more info on Batter World and Carrot Top Treats. Go here for more info and to buy tickets to the 34th Annual Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting on May 31 (1–4pm) in downtown Mill Valley.

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