When New York City entrepreneurs and friends Zoë Sakoutis and Erica Huss (below, left and right) were looking for their next venture, they didn’t imagine they’d find inspiration beneath their feet. Cofounders of BluePrint Cleanse—a cold-pressed juicing program that took the wellness industry by storm in 2007—they wanted to combine their passion for preventive health and functional foods. Fourteen years later, they’re back in action with Earth & Star.
Working with purveyors in North America and China, Sakoutis, a certified nutrition consultant and Huss, a former dancer, yoga instructor, and public relations pro, chose certified organic medicinal mushrooms including lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, turkey tail, and cordyceps to incorporate into chocolate bars, coffee, and lattes. The mushrooms have beneficial effects on the immune system and overall health, with antioxidant levels far greater than better-known superfoods like blueberries and acai. The idea behind incorporating the powerful fungi into common foods, says Huss, was to create items that could be “seamlessly included in our daily routine.”
Earth & Star products use the fruiting body of the mushroom—the parts that grow above ground—rather than the mycelium (the “root”) which is typically used in supplements but does not appear to have the same health benefits. The collection includes chocolate bars in four flavors, and heat-and-go, plant-based matcha, cacao, and turmeric lattes. There’s also caffeinated black cold brew and organic ground coffee made with functional mushrooms. Although other brands of mushroom-based coffee are currently on the market, Earth & Star speaks to those who love the ritual of waking up with a cup, without as much “jitters and crash,” says Sakoutis.
The business partners have weekend homes in the Hudson Valley. Twelve years ago, Sakoutis and her husband landed in Cold Spring while searching for a weekend retreat from their Brooklyn home. Huss, who had spent many weekends as a child visiting relatives in Fishkill, Wappingers Falls, and Beacon, soon followed suit. She and her family chose Balmville for its easy access to Newburgh and Beacon, plus Kingston and New Paltz to the north, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and exploring wineries and cideries.
Earth & Star products can be purchased online at earthandstar.com. Latte and coffee cans start at $4.99/can and the chocolate is $60 for 12 bars. Subscriptions and variety packs are available, too.