This month’s Sweet Chat is with co-founders Atara Bernstein and Ariel Pasternak who started Pineapple Collaborative as a simple potluck dinner in 2015 and turned it into the food company they wish existed in the world. Ariel and Atara chat with us about how they built this “welcoming space,” their memories of the highs and their tips for the lows.
What inspired you to start Pineapple Collaborative?
TBH, when we started, we couldn’t imagine exactly what we were building. We just knew that we, as women who love food, needed a welcoming space to gather in community and celebrate the food and women we #pinefor (our way of saying what we are inspired by or who we admire!)
How did you come to find Pineapple Collaborative's voice?
We like to say we are your best friend who loves food; not an authority figure, but someone who you would text or turn to casually for information and inspiration in the world of food.
What’s the best thing about having a business partner? What’s your favorite memory together?
Best thing is having someone on this journey with you! Running a business is HARD, so it’s great to have someone else you can trust and rely on. Also, that means you can take a vacation without sweating it...too hard. Best memory is probably launching Pineapple in LA together. We spent a week in Southern California, starting with a Joshua Tree retreat and then spending time in LA eating at the best women-powered places and connecting with the leads of the LA food scene.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through the process of bringing Pineapple Collaborative to life?
Good things take time; Be patient. Also, it’s possible to create a profitable business rooted in creativity and community. It takes business savvy too, but for anyone who wants to make a career out of their passion/art, know it’s possible!
Photo: Jen Sanchez
Launching a start-up and a calm, quiet mind usually don’t go hand in hand. What were your go-to tips to handling stress?
Ariel: Draw boundaries between work and life during the week and weekends. Stick to routines that make you feel great, whether that’s going for walks, cooking, or any other kind of movement/non-work activity. And make sure you have savings/reach out to loved ones for support when you need it.
Atara: Tackle challenges one at a time, lean on your team (and ask for help).
What does unwinding look like for you?
Ariel: Taking a walk outside, doing yoga, cooking dinner, hanging out with my loved ones.
Atara: Walking my dog, painting, reading and cooking.
Tip for WFH-life?
Ariel: Go for walks as much as you can--even if it’s just a trip around the block.
Atara: Make evening plans that you can look forward to whether that’s calling a friend, baking something new, reading a new cookbook, watching a movie.
Tip for starting a business?
Make sure you have enough savings to support yourself if you have a rocky month. The early months/years of a business are tough and you need outside support to bolster you, including: savings, loved ones, mentors, a network of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Mantra of the moment?
Ariel: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” - Mary Oliver
Atara: “Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
What does wellness mean to you?
Ariel: Wellness means feeling good in your body and community.
Atara: Emotional and physical well-being, a feeling of enrichment and deep satisfaction.
Lifestyle summed up in one sentence?
Ariel: Lives for food.
Atara: Pours herself wholeheartedly into her passions (food, music, design), her work, her art, and her relationships.
Ariel: Remember to breathe!
Atara: Stretch and gratitude meditations each day.
Photo: Jen Sanchez
What’s your go to dinner right now?
Ariel: Natural wine + Sfoglini pasta (love the Emmer reginetti) with any seasonal vegetable, The Olive Oil + salt + some damn good parmesan.
+ Whole roasted sweet potatoes with seaweed, crunchy seeds and tahini
+ Salad with bitter greens, herbs, salty cheese, honey, Pineapple Collaborative Olive Oil and walnuts
+ Natural wine of course
CBD Queen or CBD Newbie?
Atara: Somewhere in between.
Ariel: In-season strawberries, blueberries, peaches and apricots.
Atara: It changes on the season but mandarins, persimmon, cantaloupe honestly whatever is in season. I love fruit.
What’s your number one pantry staple?
Ariel: Pineapple Collaborative’s The Olive Oil!
Atara: Pineapple Collaborative’s The Olive Oil and salt (couldn’t narrow it down to one!)
Brand You Can’t Live Without:
Ariel: Isabel Marant
Atara: Pineapple Collaborative. Also Diaspora Co, Seed + Mill, and Daphnis and Chloe herbs and spices.
Life Hack of all Life Hacks:
Ariel: Hmm...maybe saving vegetables odds & ends and chicken bones to make a “compost” broth, which is what I use for homemade chicken/vegetable stock in any recipe. Put a dash of The ACV while the stock is cooking to release as many of the nutrients from the chicken bones as possible.
Atara: Get a lot of sleep, meditate, take breaks throughout the day and put a parm rind in your soups and sauces for the ultimate flavor bomb.
Ariel: I don’t believe in guilty pleasures; I believe in leaning into what brings you pleasure and not feeling any guilt :)
Atara: Sour patch kids, but it’s not really a guilty pleasure just something I enjoy.
Most played song right now:
Ariel: Wede Harer Guzo by Hailu Mergia, Dahlak band
Atara: Jubilation by Norma Tanega
Favorite current read:
Ariel: Braiding Sweetgrass is my #1 but currently reading Owning Our Future by Marjorie Kelly about creating a generative economy.
Atara: Just finished Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, all time fave is 100 Years of Solitude.
Favorite Sweet Reason flavor:
Ariel: Strawberry Lavender
Pineapple Collaborative on a mission to connect and celebrate women who love food. Because sharing knowledge, supporting each other, and coming together for a meal is the best way to create community. Beyond that, food is more than just what’s on your plates—what you cook and eat reflects your unique styles, identities, and values.