Woman-run Cult Crackers loved by locals


In West Berkeley the Berkeley Kitchens reside, where 15 medium sized businesses have their own independent kitchens. One of the kitchens, with a clean industrial look and a big window illuminating the room, is the center of production for Cult Crackers. 

Seven years ago, in 2017, Cult Crackers was founded by Dianna Dar, who set out on a mission to make delicious, gluten free, organic, crackers local to Berkeley. Dar started the bakery when people around her praised her for her homemade crackers. “I was making (crackers) at home, playing around with them, and people loved them,” Dar said. “People said ‘oh you should sell these,’ and that’s how it got started.” 

Cult Crackers has two different flavors: a Classic Seed Cracker, with corn flour, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds (along with several other seeds), and Crunchy Cassava Crackers, which has cassava flour, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds as its main ingredients. All of the ingredients in Cult Crackers are organic and gluten free. 

When Dar started her business, she started by doing a bit of every job, but now that the business has expanded, she no longer does the baking. A typical day for Cult Crackers starts at 3:30 a.m., when the bakers come in to hand bake and hand mix the cracker dough. 

The six different seeds used in the crackers are sunflower, sesame, chia, pumpkin, flax, and hemp seeds, all of which are milled in Oregon and get delivered to the Berkeley Kitchens two days later. 

After making the dough, the bakers take the dough after it rests overnight and spread it on a rack. They then cut the dough, forming cracker shapes, which they will then put into the oven. On an average day, around 800 cracker bags are produced a day, all with a team of four people.

Once the crackers are fully baked, the crackers are hand packaged into bags. A sealing machine is used when packaging, which vacuums out the oxygen and then flushes the bag with nitrogen, giving the crackers a longer shelf life. The sealing machine is also locally made in San Rafael. 

Although the business now has a regular schedule, it took several attempts to perfect the recipe and to streamline the process. “It took us a couple of years to get this whole process down and figure out the fastest and most efficient way to do things,” Dar said. 

Even the stroller cutter (which helps cut the crackers in even shapes before going in the oven) was perfected over time. Dar’s physicist husband changed the stroller cutter to make the blades thicker and more dull, so that when the dough is cut, the crackers are more easily separated. 

Dar usually eats her crackers straight from the bag but Dar also recommends them with avocado, or any kind of cheese or cheese spread. She also crumbles her crackers and has them with yogurt as a high protein and fiber snack.

Cult Crackers can be bought directly from their website or in local Berkeley shops. Although Cult Crackers is now found in 700 stores across the country, Dar says that there was no better place than starting it in Berkeley. “I don’t think I could have done this anywhere but Berkeley because Berkeley really embraced us … we were at the Berkeley farmers market for a couple of years, and people here just really appreciate handmade, hand baked and organic (crackers),” Dar said.