We sat down *virtually* with Ariel Pasternak and Atara Bernstein of Pineapple Collaborative to talk about apple cider vinegar, food as connection, and community.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you love to do?
“We are Ariel Pasternak and Atara Bernstein, co-founders and co-CEOs of Pineapple Collaborative – a community for people who love food. Not surprisingly, both of us love to cook and draw inspiration from the food we shop for and cook every day. Not only is it the core of our business, but it is a huge part of our lives outside of work. We both love to spend time at our local farmers market and prioritize shopping local, small businesses whenever possible. We love to let the food we eat inspire us and act as a vehicle to build deeper connections with the people around us.”
How did you come to create Pineapple Collaborative?
“Pineapple Collaborative began back in 2015 with a potluck dinner attended by 30 women in Washington, D.C. who came together over a shared passion for food. Since then, we’ve grown the Pineapple community to over 100,000 people through events (both IRL and now digital), our editorial vertical called ‘The Pantry’, and social media. From the very beginning, the goal of Pineapple Collaborative has been to provide a platform to uplift deserving voices in the food industry (from chefs to farmers to entrepreneurs) sans ego.
Ultimately, the community we built over several years is what inspired us to launch our debut pantry staples in 2019
– The Olive Oil and The Apple Cider Vinegar – produced in collaboration with talented, female makers Kathryn
Tomajan and Joanne Krueger respectively. We really do believe that food is the strongest form of connection and we wanted to expand that ethos by offering beautiful and trustworthy cooking essentials that you will reach for every single day that make cooking more enjoyable – while at the same time highlighting the incredible people behind the product.”
What do you love most about ACV? Any recipes you'd like to share?
“When we launched our content series called The Pantry in 2017, our goal was to get a glimpse inside the kitchens of the inspiring people in the Pineapple Collaborative community. After talking with so many members of our network of home cooks, we realized that there were consistently two products that people were reaching for every single day–olive oil and vinegar–but despite being the most commonly used, most didn’t have a meaningful connection to a specific brand. We chose Apple Cider Vinegar over other kinds of vinegar (like white or red wine) because it is utilitarian – both savory and sweet – and has a long history of being made in America. The ACV was a direct response to what our community needed in terms of a kitchen staple they can trust.
We have two favorite things about The ACV –– first and foremost, collaborating with Joanne Kreuger of Little Apple Treats on this product has been so rewarding. She is incredibly talented and an awesome partner. Secondly, we love that The ACV actually tastes like apples! Our community uses The ACV for everything from morning wellness shots
to salad dressings...some people even splash it in their cocktails. Check out The Recipe Box on our website for a collection of recipes from our community.”
You started out as a potluck dinner in 2015 in search of community! Can you speak a little bit about this and how you've created community with Pineapple Collaborative?
“Since the very beginning, we have been focused on cultivating a community full of real people who love food, without any hint of ego or status. For Pineapple Collaborative, this meant starting with events where people can come together and connect over food. Over the years, what that looks like has changed –– it can be dinner parties, cooking classes, panels on food equity –– but the core mission has never waivered. Especially with the onset of the pandemic last year, we had to pivot and figure out how to best show up for our community in a time of anxiety and uncertainty. We took several months to develop a thoughtful plan that kept the needs of our community at the center and welcomed direct feedback and ideas. The key to building community is approaching it with humility and authenticity, ensuring that you don’t lose sight of your original mission.
It has been really special to see our community of over 100,000 strong show up for each other over the past 15 months and we are so excited for how we will continue to show up for each other in new ways in the future.”
If you could have a tea or take a Boketto moment (a moment of daydreaming and of rest) with any person dead or alive who would it be? What kind of tea would you have?
“I would love to drink Cota tea with Georgia O’Keefe.” –– Atara Bernstein
“I would have hot water & fresh mint leaves with Yael, my deceased Savta (grandma in Hebrew).” –– Ariel Pasternak
What does a moment of rest, recharging, or nourishment look like for you?
“Pretty much anything that doesn’t involve my scrolling on my phone! Going outside, reading, watching an old movie, spending time with friends, and cooking are just a few examples.” –– Atara Bernstein
“Remembering to breathe! And appreciating each moment because every day is precious. I also love taking short walks outside in between long days of Zooms/meetings.” –– Ariel Pasternak
What's something you want people to know about you that I wouldn't think to ask?
“I draw inspiration from many sources – from film to books to poetry. Lately I’ve gotten very into neorealist cinema: specifically Antonioni. I am very inspired by the visual language and composition of L'avventura and Red Desert.” –– Atara Bernstein
“I’m a first generation American!” –– Ariel Pasternak
“I’m a capricorn! I don’t know my rising/moon sign.” –– Atara Bernstein
“Capricorn/Pisces/Libra” –– Ariel Pasternak
Shop the ACV here.