Upstate NY Gluten-Free Haven Part Two: Happy Belly Bakery and Farmer’s Markets

Along with hikes, and ponds, and alpaca farms and chickens, and chasing thunderclouds, a big part of summer probably most anywhere, and especially in the Columbia County, NY and surroundings – is experiencing the farmer’s markets, in their abundant glory. Hudson Farmers Markt An excellent gluten-free (and otherwise) cook and master griller, my brother wanted to make sure we made it first to Hudson Farmers Market ( in Hudson!) for vegetables, maple almond butter from Tierra Farm, pickles, and….mochi sticky buns from Happy Belly Bakery of Hudson, 100% gluten-free. Already sold out of the sticky-buns by 10am, we persevered and bought a few loaves of their nut/grain bread, and a chocolatey chocolate brownie treat for my niece.

Happy Belly Mult Grain Bread Photo Credit: Daniel Goldstein

Happy Belly Nut/Grain Gluten-Free Bread Photo Credit: Daniel Goldstein

The next day, we hit the Valatie Farmers Market.  Here, we spent quite a bit of time, tasting, buying and talking again with Happy Belly owner and baker Monica Jerminario, and her husband, who helps man their stand, in between also working at Tierra Farms. If memory serves ( which honestly it does not always) Monica suffered for many years and through college with various debilitating ailments, until finally (after many medical professionals insisting it was in her head or some such) the root of all was found to be the effects of malabsorption from gluten. ie. she had Celiac Disease. image4Monica stopped eating gluten, and never turned back.  She worked in restaurant kitchens, with gluten, and eventually as a matter of course started baking and cooking inventive and experimental gluten-free creations.  Monica likes to infuse flavors from various cultures, and unlikely combinations, among her sweets and savories.  Likewise, they have those hard to find items like “wrap” bread for sandwiches, baquettes, and farm fresh fruit baked goods.    Many items are vegan as well, and organic ingredients are used whenever possible. Ingredients are always listed with items. I am a savory food lover, so I just had to try the Zaatar Flat Bread. Mmmm, image4mmmmm. Holy smokes.  Drizzled with an almost tangy olive oil, cheese, a gooey kind of succulent dough, I was a happy market goer.  Once my niece had a taste, it was no longer mine and I had to purchase a second.  The heat of the day, actually enhanced the yumminess in my opinion. After gobbling up the Zaatar bread it became obvious that I would have to buy the garlic knots ( I mean really, c’mon).

Happy Belly can be found most weekend’s at the Hudson and Valatie Farmers Markets.  I urge you to take a road trip, follow them on Facebook, and keep them on your radar.  Say hi from Deb! image9

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image8For a  full list of Columbia County Farmer’s Markets and Vendors, click here  FullSizeRender What kind of gluten-free surprises have you found or made on your summer travels? Stay cool, not hungry my friends. Yours, Deb

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The girl loves her farm fresh corn.

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Upstate NY a Gluten-Free Haven Part One: On the Road

With the bevy of farmers markets and abundant veggies and fruits available in the summer FullSizeRendertime, summery travels and gluten-free eating feels a little bit easier.  ( Imagine finding a field of wild blueberries on a hike – free food! free gluten-free food at that.)
Lucky enough to spend a few days in Columbia County, NY, aside from a cool and beautiful respite from the city hustle and bustle, upstate NY, also proved to be a haven for Gluten-Free baked goods, and fresh food finds as well, at many a turn.

Driving along the Taconic Parkway, just before hitting Pawling NY, I was ready for a loo pit stop and a coffee.  A beacon on the road, low and behold, not a McDonald’s rather there was The Todd HillTaste of NY rest stop.  On line for said loo, I was surprised and totally delighted to find baked goods from gluten-free twinkling star Ella’s Bellas.  Hold everything!  Essentially, if I am to eat a chocolate chip cookie, I want it to be from Ella’s Bellas.  Naturally I had to buy a bag ( ok two) of the chocolate salted chocolate chip cookies.  I would have been a fool not to!  En route to visit my sweet niece, (diagnosed just about 3 years ago with Celiac Disease) isn’t that what an auntie is for, to create diversions from their otherwise healthy, homemade eating? (Shhhh).    ellas

Lo and behold, there on the shelves, also, another fave, gluten-free bread and biscotti from near by Chatham Bakery and Cafe.  We make our image1specialty Levine’s General Grilled Cheese sandwiches with this bread, purchased at Union Square farmer’s market, but had never been to the actual cafe. I knew we would be hitting their cafe – so I left that purchase for later.   Other snacks abound, with Certified Gluten-Free labels.  This was not your average rest stop for sure.

A lovely afternoon lunch was had over the weekend at Our Daily Bread, Chatham Gluten-Free Bakery. Finally I could experience the cafe first hand.  Everyone who works at the cafe, is knowledgeable, friendly, and wholly accommodating. My niece had specially made gluten-free waffles with fruit.  I had a classic veggie sandwich on the “rye” caraway bread.  Blissful simplicity.  The only suggestion I would make ( okay, I’m making it) is that I find their bread is better when lightly toasted.  What’s better than a lightly toasted sandwich anyway?  All and all it was just really nice to be out and about, and feel safe with good fresh foods and gluten-free baked goods.

chathamb  Below: Upstate NY Gluten-Free Haven Part Two:  Happy Belly Bakery of Hudson…

Meet the Makers: I Heart Keenwah

I first met some of the folks from I Heart Keenwah, at the Brooklyn Bazaar Night Market two winters ago.  I was still hocking my tees, and they were busy next to me selling out of their fairly new line of quinoa snacks.

chocolate sea saltWe got to talking and luckily I snagged two bags, one for me, and one for my niece.  Needless to say, we both quite enjoyed them.  Chocolate Sea Salt was my crunch of choice.   During the past few months of research for the the EatUP!, I always knew I wanted I Heart Keenwah to be there!  It has been a joy to see this company grow.  Yes, I did take a series of pictures when I saw the mini I Heart Keenwah bags ( adorable) at JFK airport a few months back.

Photo 2013-05-25 09.37.09 PM.jpgFriends and Co-Founders Fiteh, Ravi, Sarah and Terah.

In their own words:

i heart keenwah was started by four friends: Fiteh, Ravi, Sarah, and Terah after touring Bolivia and learning about the versatility of an awesome little seed called quinoa, we returned home frustrated by the lack of ready-to-eat quinoa options. we decided to do something about it and got to work in the kitchen, mixing quinoa with other all-natural ingredients to craft a crunchy, sweet treat that satisfied our cravings.

Meet quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). its known by the andean peoples of south america as the “mother of all grains,” and touted by health experts as the only whole grain that’s a complete source of protein  containing all nine essential amino acids. it makes for a delicious and fulfilling snack when we mix it up with other all-natural ingredients.

We are happy to have the NY co-founder Ravi Jolly at the first market on Sunday February 9!  Sending a hearty shout out and thank you to the rest of the gang in Ohio and Chicago, for their support and participation in the EatUP!.

Learn more about these Certified Gluten-Free morsels of quinoa at http://www.iheartkeenwah.com
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Meet the Family Makers: City Saucery

Sauce like a Boss!

Michael, Nonna and Jorge in Brooklyn, NY.  Meet Michael, Nonna and Jorge of City Saucery.

We first tasted Nonna’s Smoky Sauce this past June at the Brooklyn Eats fancy food style tradeshow.  I could have eaten the whole jar of sauce with a spoon.  ( Who am I kidding, I probably didn’t even need the spoon).  On Sunday February 9, sample the Calibria, Italy inspired sauces, (with focaccia from Krumville Bakery) and take home a jar or two for your favorite, gluten free pastas, breads, chips – or your favorite spoon!

NONNA'S ARTISANAL TOMATO SAUCES by CITY SAUCERYUnique artisanal tomato sauces inspired by Nonna’s native Calabria, the southernmost and spiciest Italian region. Handcrafted in small batches using 100% New Jersey vine-ripened tomatoes (not watered-down tomato purée or pastes), extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and the best all natural ingredients we can source regionally and seasonally. Oh, how we wish olives grew in NYC!

Currently featuring three very distinct flavor profiles: SPICY, SWEET and SMOKY.

VEGAN • HANDCRAFTED • SMALL BATCH • GLUTEN/DAIRY/NUT FREE • NO GMO’S • NO ADDITIVES • LOW SODIUM

Learn more about City Saucery, including their own, urban organic garden.

http://www.citysaucery.com/our-garden/

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Based in New York City, my partner Jorge and I joined forces with my mom, ‘Nonna’ Carolina and founded Spicy ‘n Sweet in 2011. Inspired by Nonna’s native Calabria, Italy, and following in the artisanal Mediterranean tradition, we handcraft all our sauces in small batches to ensure the highest quality with ingredients and flavor, sourcing locally, regionally (and seasonally) from NYC/NJ farms and our very own organic urban garden. This traditional approach to cooking is what Nonna knows and it’s what we are jarring. The way tomato sauce should taste!

With growth, naturally comes change. As of January 2014, we’ve rebranded to City Saucery, a name we strongly feel better describes us as the go-to place for unique, delicious and healthy sauces for the discerning palate.

Buon appetito!
Michael Marino, Co-Founder.

——-  And now…I am quite hungry! See you at the EatUP!