Farmer’s market goes bananas for the Pudding Bunch

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Young entrepreneurs sell banana pudding at Ladera Heights’ spots

By Darlene Donloe

Contributing Writer

LADERA HEIGHTS — Four children between the ages of 2 and 11, were going bananas at home with nothing to do during the coronavirus quarantine when they got a bright idea to start their own family business.

After talking it over, the four family members unanimously settled on using an old family recipe for banana pudding, which happened to be their favorite dessert, and selling it at their neighborhood farmer’s market and at Ladera Park with a goal of earning enough money to buy a food truck in order to take their business to the next level.

The decision proved fruitful. They tossed around some business names and finally settled on the Pudding Bunch.

They launched their business July 4, and now the Pudding Bunch — Devyn Jefferson (11), her brother Sebastian (7), and their niece Madison Washington (8) and nephew Mason Washington (2) — are on a path to success.

Under the supervision of Leonard Jefferson their father and grandfather respectively, as well as their mothers, the Pudding Bunch rises bright and early on market days and for two hours they all pitch in to create 50 to 100 pudding cups, which consists of a proprietary recipe of pudding, fresh organic bananas, and vanilla wafers topped off with whipping cream.

“People do pre-orders so we make enough for them and enough to sell to everybody else,” said Devyn, who doesn’t mind working hard. “It can be hard work, but I like hard work. At the end of the day, I know we’re having fun and we get to spend time with everybody. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.”

After they have prepared the pudding cups, they make their way to the Ladera Heights Farmers Markets on Thursdays and Ladera Park on Saturday mornings, each time selling out as they garner enormous local support. The business has already amassed several repeat customers.

“We’re very happy to have the youngest vendors at the Farmers Market to be the Pudding Bunch,” said Ran Craycraft, Ladera Heights Civic Association board member. “They have become very popular. They sell out very quickly. It’s hard to resist fresh banana pudding on a hot day.”

Craycraft applauded the young entrepreneurs who are “getting started early” with their enterprise.

“The first day they started at the market, I didn’t even have to give them instructions,” Craycraft said. “When customers came up they talked about their product, the ingredients and then sang a little song every time they made a sale. After the first customer, they were on cruise control.”

After each sale, the Pudding Bunch sings, “If your taste buds want something cold and sweet, come on down to the Pudding Bunch.”

These four kids are serious about their business.

“We all wanted to start a business for the summer,” said Devyn, who is in the seventh grade and would like to become an actress. “My dad helps us. We knew we wanted to do this, but we didn’t know how.

We told him we wanted to sell something. He helped us work our way up to start doing banana pudding. All of us like banana pudding. It’s our favorite.”

Their first day in business, the Pudding Bunch made $275.

“We sell them for $5,” said Sebastian, a second-grader who wants to be an entrepreneur and a police officer. “I want to be a police officer because I like taking people to justice.”

Madison, who wants to be an actress and an entrepreneur, said the Pudding Bunch goes to Ladera Park on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

“It can be fun,” she said. “The hardest part for me is standing up all that time.”

“Buying a food truck to sell banana pudding is their ultimate goal,” said Leonard Jefferson, a 20-year car coordinator for Hollywood films. “They’re on their way.”

“It will take maybe four more weekends and we’ll have enough money,” Devyn said. “Our goal is to raise $12,000. I think we can do it. We’re on our way.”

Follow the Pudding Bunch on Instagram @thepuddingbunch to place advance orders.

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