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Gluten-Free Bakers Find Increasing Demand and Success - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Gluten-Free Bakers Find Increasing Demand and Success

Posted: Updated: Feb 10, 2013 07:05 PM EST

A Crozet family is working to make sure every kid can enjoy a fresh baked treat - even if dietary restrictions get in the way.

Stephanie White and her sister are making lemonade out of lemons. They've turned a diagnosis of gluten intolerance into a booming business.

White's passion for baking took on new meaning when her daughter was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.

"As a parent, I just felt like it was my mission to make it as small of a challenge as possible," she said.

White tinkered with recipes, hoping to make treats her daughter could share with her friends. She got rave reviews.

"‘These are incredible you should open a bakery,' and these were all people who ate gluten and they didn't know that it was gluten-free, which was the goal so we could unite both the worlds together so that people who need to eat gluten-free don't feel different," White said.

In May, White teamed up with her sister and took her kitchen hobby to the Charlottesville City Market.

"People would come up hugging us and almost crying, some of them crying, because they were either adults that couldn't enjoy a fresh-baked product, or they were parents," she said.

They began baking only on Fridays. Now, they mix up treats every day of the week.

"It has been a whirlwind in the best possible way," said Sue Gass, a fellow gluten-free baker.

Their Stevie G's brand of brownies, granola, and ice cream sandwiches are sold in 10 stores and restaurants. 

According to the Stevie G's Facebook page, you can find Stevie G's products at the following locations around central Virginia:  Whole Foods, Rebecca's Natural Foods, Foods of All Nations, The Farm, BlueRidge CountryStore, Millie Joe's Coffee Shop, Crozet Great Valu, Mellow Mushroom, Boylan Heights and Albemarle Cider Works.

Fabienne Swanson, the buyer for Crozet's Great Valu, says Stevie G's is meeting an increasing demand for gluten-free items.

"It's a fresh, locally made from scratch item made here in our community and we love to support local vendors," she said.

Now these sisters are outgrowing their home kitchen, and their hopes are growing too.

"We wanted to fill a need within our community and our vision is to be able to fill that in communities across our region or our nation," White said.

The National Institute of Health says gluten intolerance and Celiac disease have become increasingly prevalent in the past 50 years. White says the speed of Stevie G's growth shows the need for more gluten-free products.

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