The Gluten Free Foodies Bakery and Market brings back good eats

Lisa Garza tidies up shelves at The Gluten Free Foodies Bakery and Market, which is now open the Poulsbo Village. - Celeste Cornish/Staff photo
Lisa Garza tidies up shelves at The Gluten Free Foodies Bakery and Market, which is now open the Poulsbo Village.
— image credit: Celeste Cornish/Staff photo

POULSBO — Martha Hofmann, Michelle Hofmann and Lisa Garza love food, but not all food loves them back. The three, all committed to a gluten-free lifestyle, found their eating choices limited and decided to do something about it.

Their answer: the Gluten Free Foodies Bakery and Market, which they opened as a safe haven for the wheat-, barley- and rye-intolerant and those who choose to be gluten-free.

“There’s a whole large group of people that just seem to feel better when they limit their gluten,” Martha Hofmann said.

The market, which the Bainbridge Island residents opened on May 6 in the Poulsbo Village, sells fresh-baked goods — including muffins, cookies and breads — and a wide selection of gluten-free products from barbecue sauce to burritos and cereal. A grand opening celebration is planned for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 15.

The bakery was borne of inspiration and frustration.

Garza, the author of The Gluten Free Foodies blog , has celiac disease; her body is unable to properly process the gluten and protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Her affliction was brought on by a car accident seven years ago.

Using her blog as a jumping-off point, she seeks out products and restaurants that fit within the confines of her diet. She also hosts a monthly gluten-free and food-sensitivity support group. At the support group, gluten-free foodies gather to share recipes and advice.

At one of the support group meetings, Martha Hoffman impressed attendees with her gluten-free pitas. Hofmann gave up gluten eight years ago to support her husband, who has celiac disease. She also believes the gluten-free lifestyle helps ease her symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Martha Hofmann then recruited her daughter, Michelle, to the cause. The younger Hofmann found her place in the kitchen two and a half years ago, driven by the idea of making baked goods more healthy.

“I like to eat healthy and it just freaks me out that everything takes sour cream and butter and massive amounts of sugar,” Michelle Hofmann said.

Avoiding gluten requires scrutinizing labels and giving up staple favorites like bread and cake, Garza said. For some, that’s too heavy a burden to bear.

“Pizza and beer,” Garza said. “Those are the two things that people say they miss and — no pun intended — get you in the gut.”

The bakery offers a respite for fans of pizza, as it already has gluten-free pizza crusts. Take-and-bake pizzas and gluten-free beer may soon find their way onto the menu and shelves, along with the plethora of goods already available.

“I can make tiramisu. I can be a foodie again,” Garza said. “It really is a celebration that we can eat again.”

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