The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

UNI grad’s ‘Moos Bakery’ on the rise

Maddie Palmersheim, 2021 UNI grad, holds her vendor booth at the Cedar Valley Farmers Market.

Maddie Palmersheim, a 2021 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, currently owns and operates Moo’s Bakery, an online bakery that’s completely dairy and egg free. Palmersheim’s entrepreneurial journey didn’t begin with Moo’s Bakery, but her work as an entrepreneur has led to the conception and eventual success of Cedar Falls’ online bakery. 

“When I graduated high school in 2017, I immediately wanted to jump in and create my own business. I always knew I wanted to go the entrepreneurial route. My senior year of high school I started my blog, Mind & Belly, as I was dealing with health complications. One random day during the summer, I went completely vegan,” Palmersheim describes the events leading up to the conception of Moo’s Bakery. Palmersheim worked at the Entrepreneurial Center on campus. She shares that she became frustrated with not being able to have her own business by the time she graduated. “One day I just drove down to Target and picked up a food scale, some cocoa powder and like, four brownie pans. That was my first purchase,” Palmersheim laughed. “It was just so random.” This Target trip turned into Palmersheim pursuing her goal of opening a bakery. The summer of 2021 consisted of Palmersheim digging through her recipe archives and conceptualizing Moo’s Bakery’s first menu. She transformed her blog Mind & Belly into the online storefront for Moo’s Bakery, and Moo’s has been consistently growing ever since.

All of Moo’s products are 100% plant based and vegan. (COURTESY)


“The first year was pretty slow. But, after our first market in 2022, we really started to gain traction.” Since Moo’s Bakery doesn’t have a physical storefront, Moo’s presence at the Cedar Falls Farmers Market has generated a lot of growth for the local bakery. Palmersheim returned to the farmers market for the 2023 season, which recently came to a close. During the market season, Palmersheim spends a majority of the week prepping for the market. “Mondays are rest days. Tuesdays are prep days, not a lot of baking happens then, but a lot of planning and prepping what will keep,” Palmersheim explains that it’s later in the week when things really start to heat up. “Wednesdays are cookie days. Just all day, baking cookies. Probably up to, like, 1,000 cookies. Then Thursday and Friday are full bake days. I usually go from nine in the morning to nine or ten at night. Saturdays are full market days. I wake up around six, pack up all of our stuff, then head downtown for the market.” Palmersheim described the difference between Moo’s first market season and this past market season, in terms of growth and reception. “The first market, last summer, I was putting out maybe seven recurring menu items. This year, I know people want to see new things, so I’ve been trying to rotate in new bakery items every week.” Palmersheim also accredits some of Moo’s growth to the Cedar Falls Farmers Market, gaining Moo’s exposure and an opportunity for face-to-face selling, especially since Moo’s mainly operates as an online bakery. “We pay I think $100 for six months to have a spot in the market, and the market is just continually growing. They have a great community of people that come through. We definitely owe a lot to them.”

Moo’s Bakery also features savory treats, such as hummus and pesto. (COURTESY)

Moo’s Bakery isn’t your traditional bakery, in more ways than one. Palmersheim owns and operates Moo’s fully independently. As aforementioned, Moo’s is also run with an online storefront in place of a physical storefront. “I’m so lucky to have my grandparents who live just outside of Cedar Falls and have an empty kitchen in their basement. It was kind of just sitting there, but we converted it and it’s been the perfect size for my one woman show. It’s been a really, really fortunate way to start.” The online business model, operating out of Palmersheim’s house, has been met with its own challenges. “We’ve had people walk into the garage, come into our home, which I feel so bad about, but, that’s kind of what it is.” Palmersheim has also struggled with people taking Moo’s legitimately, since there isn’t a physical storefront. “I feel we’ve missed some people sometimes because they don’t get it. It’s harder since we have a two day wait period for orders. It definitely would be easier if we had a physical space, but as I’m figuring it out, I’m also figuring out what’s in store for Moo’s.” Palmersheim noted that she toured a space on College Hill, but for right now, Moo’s will remain online, as it’s what’s worked best for the bakery. “One of the biggest positives is it’s so much more personal. It’s just me!” Moo’s customer base is pretty loyal, with a metrics report showing that this season 1,350 people visited Moo’s, and orders nearly doubled from Moo’s first market season in 2022. “It really is a one woman show. I run marketing, I do the metrics, I purchase the bulk ingredients, I budget, all of it’s me!” Moo’s continues to grow through the efforts of Palmersheim. 

Of course, running a bakery comes with being a foodie and loving the development of recipes. As Moo’s has grown, Palmersheim has introduced savory items like hummus and pesto to the lineup of Moo’s menu. “Our hummus, pesto and pesto pasta have made appearances at the market which can be a good balance to bakery stuff. After realizing people don’t want cupcakes at 8 a.m. I adjusted our menu to include some breakfast-style items and more cookies and brownies.” The signature chocolate chip cookie has been a Moo’s best seller, with over 9,000 chocolate chip cookies sold in the past year. “I was very adamant about not selling cookies. Which is crazy now, looking back on it. But, I’d say the cookies are definitely a fan favorite and have become one of my own favorites, as well.” Asking Palmersheim to pick a favorite baked good from the Moo’s menu is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. “There’s just so many! I do love decorating cakes. I have so much fun, there’s so much creativity to be had.” Moo’s Bakery offers a swath of cheesecakes, cupcakes, cake balls, cakes, scones and cookies for customers to try. One of their newest additions is a Pumpkin Cheesecake for lovers of all things autumn. 

Since Moo’s conception, Palmersheim has been dedicated to growing the business. Through a passion for vegan products and a love for sweet treats, Moo’s has taken the Cedar Falls Farmers Market by storm, and will continue to grow over time. “I think that with any entrepreneurial endeavor, you’re right where you need to be at the moment. I think that’s true with Moo’s Bakery. We’ll grow as we go!” 

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Northern Iowan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    ChaseNov 13, 2023 at 9:54 am

    Love this! Moos is the best bakery in town 🙂