By Ashley R. Wood
Alexandria, VA – Every Saturday morning, you can stroll down Mt. Vernon Avenue to the Del Ray Farmers Market at Pat Millers Square. The market serves the community with fresh produce, and you can also find Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies to add to your kitchen table.
“It’s the taste of sunshine, you know, like the feeling of sitting in a patch of sun,” says Katherine, a new customer taking her first bite into one of Moms’ legendary sweet potato pies. Ms. Sandra Robinson, woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and owner of Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies, pours her love for family and lessons learned in her mom’s kitchen as she shares her sweet potato pies with the community.
The sweetness of Moms’ cooking creates tradition and lasting memories of being with family for years to come. The taste of home, conversations around the dinner table, and the feeling of warmth flow through the ingredients in every bite. Before her mother passed in 2017, Ms. Sandra received her approval and began sharing Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies with families of many backgrounds.
The business Ms. Sandra has built honors her late mother through the baking of sweet pies, including the recipe that’s been passed down and recreated into her own, along with new recipes such as lemon, chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet cake, cupcakes, and cake pops.
“It’s the best gluten-free baked goods I’ve ever had. I’ve been to a lot of different places, and it’s the best gluten-free red velvet and lemon cake,” Erin says after highlighting the gluten-free options Moms Divine has to offer.
Sandra Robinson, a Washington DC native, grew up in a family-oriented home. She reminisces about her parents’ bond and the importance of family growing up.
Sandra remembers being a daddy’s girl, describing him as the “best dad,” and says, “I was always with him and admired how he took care of things.” With her father’s passing in 1981, Sandra focused on home and school. Later, she took on a career in fashion modeling, walking runways in Paris, New York, Florida, and other cities before landing back home cooking, baking, and raising her family.
A thriving business owner doesn’t escape a mother’s duty to nurture family, whether it is being present for her youngest son’s senior year of high school, supporting her daughter and new grandson, maintaining the home with her husband, or cooking holiday meals for the family. In all these ways, Ms. Sandra pours from an open heart.
While mastering the skill of creating sweet potato pies from a recipe with no ingredients measures, Ms. Sandra learned to identify the measurements of life and ingredients to take Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies to the next level. A cup of love, a tablespoon of support, a teaspoon of understanding, and a dash of joy create balance in a fulfilled home, community, and business.
While finding the balance isn’t always easy, Ms. Sandra’s emphasis on focus is a reminder to us all. She says, “You have to stay focused; you can’t allow what’s trying to distract you to take your focus.” You maintain that focus by “filling your cup; you can’t pour from an empty cup and take care of others; take care of yourself first.”
Support goes a long way for Moms Divine. With the busyness of baking, meeting contract deadlines, and preparing for markets, community and family support pushes it all forward. “My heart is in the pies,” Sandra says while finding the balance of creating the legacy for Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies and a broad variety of delicious desserts.
You can find Moms Divine Sweet Potato Pies at Del Ray and West End farmers markets, serving customers of all ages and tastebuds. The line starts with the youngest customers as they wake up early to get the vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, or cinnamon “kids favorite cake pop,” as Sandra calls it. The famous Moms Pies sell fast as families and their pets take their place in line to make sure they have their weekly dose of Moms recipe.
“It’s a labor of love,” says Eliza Hemenway, “a household favorite for many families throughout the Alexandria community and beyond.” Don’t hesitate to stop by and visit Moms Divines Pies as you begin gathering with family this holiday season.