3.14 Cheers for Pi(e) Day at Clif Bar & Company
We may not be great at math, but a lot of us are foodies so we sure know pie. That’s why Pi(e) Day—more commonly spelled Pi Day for the mathematical constant π (pi) and held nationally March 14—is a big event at Clif Bar & Company.
Celebrated at our headquarters since 2012, we’ve made 169 pies and sold them to each other, raising nearly $15,000 (including company matching funds) for math programs at low-income schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“The idea to do Pi(e) Day here started with an R&D developer—a baker,” said Srilakshmi “Sri” Susarla, Food Safety & Integrity ingredient manager. “She asked me and another colleague. We loved the idea. We all agreed to ask Clif employees to donate homemade pies, auction them at work and use the money to support math programs at local schools. Math goes with pi, of course.”
Sri and her two colleagues figured that at least their three departments would participate in a cozy little event. “We were completely surprised by the response to the first Pi(e) Day,” said Sri. “Employees from all over Clif Bar baked 30 pies. Bidding wars erupted over them. It was unbelievable!”
When you have a workplace filled with athletes and foodies, you get both competition and great pies. Pi(e) Day at Clif Bar isn’t just bringing in your mom’s apple pie recipe—though great apple pies are made every year. More exotic entries have included Italian Asparagus Pie, Turtle Ice Cream Pie, Leek and Goat Cheese Pie, and Salted Caramel Chocolate Ganache Pie.
The origins of Pi Day date back to 1988, when a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium organized staff and the public to march around one of its circular spaces—pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter—and then consume fruit pies. While we honor that heritage, our annual March 14 celebration is anything but a calm walk.
“There’s a huge countdown just before bidding closes,” Sri explained. “It gets so crazy that people scribble down bids but forget to include their names. Meetings shut down early so employees can get their bids in on time.”
A little wacky? Probably. But we wouldn’t have it any other way!