Lenore Estrada and Anna Derivi-Castellanos have been baking pies together since the third grade. Four years ago, their baked goods brainchild — Three Babes Bakeshop — became a reality. The two friends are now business and baking partners, purveying sweet and savory pies for the Bay Area and beyond.
This past weekend, the pair brought their scrumptious brand of organic pies to Outside Lands, carving their own niche in the music festival’s quickly growing culinary community.
Each pie, according to Derivi-Castellanos, contains all organic and sustainable ingredients sourced primarily from Central Valley farmers, where the partners grew up. With a mission to unite cuisine, community and local farmers, Estrada told SFBay:
“We’re both really proud daughters of California and we wanted to really promote organic farming in in the Central Valley.”
When the business first launched, there was originally a third “babe,” but she quickly realized the culinary startup scene wasn’t for her — an occurrence that seemed to make Estrada and Derivi-Castellanos’ relationship even stronger.
According to Estrada, they had no money to launch the business, so they turned to crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to raise funds that would bring their childhood dreams to fruition. They eventually raised $10,000, rented a commercial kitchen in South San Francisco and did weekend pop-ups out of a shipping container. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Though their business hit the ground running, their staff remains small — a surprising fact when you look at the company by the numbers.
Derivi-Castellanos said they prepared for Outside Lands for over a month. They baked a whopping 5,000 biscuits for the three-day festival, all packed neatly in storage containers in their cramped, makeshift kitchen.
When the business venture started, they created six different pies every week, eventually producing more than 300 different types. Last Thanksgiving, they sold more than 2,000 pies, forcing them to rent out several different kitchens to fulfill orders.
Chicken pot pies and peach cobbler were the star items on this year’s Outside Lands menu. Though this is their second year serving the festival, Estrada said there’s always an element of surprise, despite the amount of preparation:
“With concessions you have no idea if you’re gonna sell out of everything or sell out of nothing and have leftovers.”
Estrada and Derivi-Castellanos agreed that food is becoming an integral component of the festival, representing the myriad of mouth-watering cuisine that San Francisco has to offer.
Estrada said the festival’s vendors are “some of the best restaurants in town,” and it’s humbling to be included among them:
“I just feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with my best friend every day doing something we loved to do as kids.”
Though the two friends have had their fair share of success, it hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.
A year into the business, both Estrada’s parents passed away, a tragedy that deeply saddened both women. However, their enduring bond allowed them to overcome the struggle together, and continue pursuing their passion. According to Estrada, the pair’s friendship is the most valuable asset of their business:
“I think for both of us, the relationship is the most important thing. Like when I’m old, Anna will be with me and who knows what will happen to the business…if we’re successful. So far we have been, and it’s been great.”
The bakeshop’s next step is opening a kiosk in the Ferry Building later this year, which will be the first venue where people can purchase their pies seven days a week. For now, Three Babes Bakeshop can be found every Saturday at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., and their pies are deliverable anywhere in San Francisco from Monday through Saturday.