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For Those with Food Allergies, Head to Gluten Free Territory

By Pamela Sosnowski

For entrepreneur and baker Barbara Freedman, it was a concern about kids and food allergies that prompted her to launch her own wholesale bakery business. As a supplier of brownies for the Flatbread Company, an organic pizza restaurant with several locations throughout New England, Freedman was disheartened to learn that some kids couldn't enjoy her brownies.

"When I heard that some of the kids that go to Flatbread were allergic to gluten, I was inspired to create a brownie that everyone could enjoy and not just people with gluten allergies," she said. "It became my 'Free At Last' brownie which is gluten, dairy, and nut free. I really did it for the kids."

The brownie was a hit even with people that didn't have dietary needs, with none of the typical aftertaste that some gluten-free products carry. Freedman (who is known affectionately by her fans as "Barbara Brownie") expanded her gluten-free offerings into Gluten Free Territory, the Hampton-based business she runs with her daughter. Gluten Free Territory makes cookies, brownies, and cakes that are free of wheat, nuts, and nut flours. All of her products have been tested by the Celiac Sprue Association and contain less than five parts per million of gluten compared to the 20 parts per million that the U.S. government defines as gluten free.

Freedman and her daughter create all of the recipes themselves and are constantly experimenting with new flavors. Gluten Free Territory's products are made fresh and sold at several area food markets and speciality stores. They are also served at restaurants and coffee shops throughout New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Most of Freedman's products can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.

"All of our gluten free treats are made in small batches, hand scooped, baked, wrapped and frozen immediately to maintain maximum freshness," she said. "They are stored in the freezer sections, but thaw quickly so you can enjoy."

The bakery also makes several brownie flavors such as pumpkin cheesecake, raspberry cheesecake, and mint brownie. Cookie flavors include coconut macaroon, chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin. Two flavors of pound cake are available, as well as vegan brownies.

Gluten Free Territory's product line can often be sampled at food expos across the country throughout the year, particularly those that focus on allergen friendly and gluten free. Stores and restaurants that are located within 50 miles of the company's location are welcome to have a tasting arranged for them by Freedman and her staff. Businesses outside of the range can request a sample pack of the company's products.

By expanding to new vendors, Freedman hopes that more children will have the chance to enjoy her treats without worry of a food allergy being triggered. For her, that is her favorite part of the job.

"Watching children smile who have Celiac and allergies when they taste our treats for the first time," she said. "It's always about the children and we believe no one should ever feel deprived."

For more visit glutenfreeterritory.com.

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