It exceeds the grandeur of the Land of Milk and Honey; at least, for those plagued with celiac disease—a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine that is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide— or gluten intolerance. Saratoga Gluten-Free Goods, a completely gluten-free bakery, opened at 176 Broad Street in Schuylerville this past October.
“We first ‘opened’ our business from the back of our vehicles in 2008 at the Gansevoort Farmer's Market,” one of the co-owners MaryAnna O’ Donnell says. “We [Jeanne Daley and MaryAnna O’Donnell] had an idea that there would be a market for fresh gluten free products versus the small amount of frozen available. The Gansevoort farmer's market seemed like a great place to start and test market our recipes.”
She continued: “Jeanne’s recipes were developed in an effort to provide favorites for her father who has celiac disease and I had been living with the Celiac Diet since my diagnosis in 1998.”
O’Donnell and Daley are also teamed with O’Donnell’s husband Scott Averill and their son Robert.
Now the group have opened their own shop to serve the masses. “We decided to make the switch from wholesale to both wholesale and retail for two main reasons, customer demand for a physical storefront and the increased ability to be creative and offer an increased variety of products that a storefront allows,” O’ Donnell says. “Some of our products were and still are available in health food stores, grocery stores and restaurants in the Capital District, Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, Queensbury and Syracuse.”
Why did they settle on Schuylerville? “Schuylerville is a quaint, friendly, growing, young (in terms of vibrance) and affordable village that is centrally located for our local customer base,” O’ Donnell says. “We have been amazed with the energy and welcome from the community for our small business and the parking for our customers is more than adequate. By the way, did I mention the history in this little village!”
The bakery is quite inviting. On the front door rests a sign: No Gluten Allowed! Once inside you’ll feel right at home and your tastebuds will tingle as the scent of cinnamon buns glossed with icing, moist cupcakes and whip cream topped cherry tarts fill the air. “It is warm and bright with large windows and plenty of room to sit and relax if you wish to enjoy a warm beverage[coffee, teas, espressos and lattes with Steve's made from scratch on site flavorings] or something cool and refreshing with your coffee cake, cinnamon roll or cheesecake,” O’ Donnell says. “We have fresh breads and Melissa's desserts to offer daily.”
Since opening, business has been steady and they are optimistic about what lies ahead.
They considering adding even more items to the menu in the near future. “We plan to move outside come summer and may expand our offerings over the next few months to include savory items such as quiche and soup and ice-cream cakes and sandwiches in the summer (gluten free of course!),” O’ Donnell says. “We would like to expand in NY state, particularly towards Buffalo and Rochester with our bread, sourdough and vegan gluten free breads and desserts are in our future.”
The gluten-free market only seems to be expanding. “There is now a fairly reliable blood test to diagnose celiac disease hence a growing following and awareness of the diagnosis of celiac disease and its genetic roots,” O’ Donnell says. “I know there is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that individuals with a diagnosis of conditions where inflammation of joints or various body organs feel better on a gluten free diet so we have a growing customer base of buying for themselves or others whose physicians are actually recommending the change. I think we will continue to see a growth in the gluten free market and other areas where allergies and intolerances need to be taken into account, there is no cookie cutter diet for everyone.”