Monday, June 12, 2006

GLUTEN-FREE VENDOR FAIR!

Congratulations to Suffolk County Celiacs for a successful Gluten-Free Vendor Fair!

At yesterday's event, throngs of celiacs grazed food samples inside a Long Island warehouse made available by generous host Comfy Cuisine.

At the booths, I was glad to see the familiar faces of the Celiac Chicks, Ann Whelan of Gluten-Free Living, Rory Jones (co-author of Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic), and nutritionist Anne Roland Lee (who earlier in the week got raves from folks at the New York City Celiac Disease Meetup) as well as folks from the Ramapo Valley Brewery, Philadelphia's Mr. Ritts Bakery, The Silly Yak Shirt Co., Gluten Free Bread Basket, Inc., Plainview's Dr. B. Well Naturally (a.k.a. Safe Harbor Foods), and Whole Foods, which is about to introduce hearty nutmeal-raisin cookies and some new breads to its gluten-free inventory.

I wasn't able to sample everything at the fair. But I enjoyed the LifeField Buckwheat as well as the baguettes of Everybody Eats and the bagels of the East Meadow bakery Joan's GF Great Bakes (gfgreatbakes at yahoo dot com). Outstanding crusts in both cases--no wonder they were popular!

Meet Pedro Arroba and Bruce Bassman of Everybody Eats.
















Here's Joan (third from left) with some of the posse from Joan's GF Great Bakes.
















And here's the energetic and enterprising Suffolk County Celiac Michael Thorn. He says he doesn't photograph well, but I think that might just be a result of the bolts of inspiration forever shooting through his brain. Looks like he's just come up with another brilliant idea!















Photos: David Marc Fischer

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Gluten-Free Vendor Fair was amazing! I had a great time with my family and thought it was a wonderful event. It was a bit crowded at times, but it was so awesome of Comfy Cuisine to donate their space for the fair. My favorites of the day were the cakes from GoodEatz and the bagels from Joan's GF Great Bakes. The free entrees and pizzas from Comfy Cuisine were a huge bonus as well. I thought most food items were reasonably priced, except for the overpriced Celiac Chicks t-shirts.

The vendors certainly knew a tremendous amount their products and celiac disease. My only hope is that no one got sick from the buckwheat samples. The woman giving out samples said there was soy sauce in the buckwheat dish. When I asked her if it was wheat-free soy sauce she said that it was such a small amount no one would get sick. I said she clearly didn't know the severity of some celiac reactions and that she should tell anyone sampling this dish that it contained soy sauce.

All in all the day was a huge success and I hope they make the gluten-free vendor fair an annual event. Kudos to the Suffolk County Celiacs for setting up this fair and making the day fun for all!

-LV of Queens

David Marc Fischer said...

Thanks for your take on the vendor fair--much appreciated!

I'm surprised to learn about soy sauce in the buckwheat dish. I should have been more vigilant. Had I known that a wheat-containing soy sauce had been used in the dish, I wouldn't have tried it. Even small amounts are a concern--especially for people who are wheat-free due to a real allergy, one that can result in anaphylactic shock.

John Muscarello said...

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who participated in Sunday's Vendor Fair. When I decided to host this event, I knew right away it was going to be special, but never dreamed it was going to be this special. Working with such a great group of dedicted people, the Suffolk group was an absolute pleasure. I knew from our first meeting together we would be able to organize a successful event. I also knew that in the short amount of time that I have been involved in this industry, I have made many friends, and it would be easy to get others involved.

I must admit, I was a little bit nervous hosting Long Island's first Vendor Fair because the last thing you want to happen is to have 25 vendors and no guests. With a great team of people working together, I knew we could pull it off. I would like to thank all of the manufactures, retailers, and special guests that all make up the "Vendor" in Vendor Fair. Without you guys, this day doesn't happen, and I appreciate the faith you had in me to travel many miles, as far as Colorado and North carolina to participate in this first time event. All of you guys displayed the utmost professionalism in setting up and helping out where needed, and I certainly do appreciate that. I only wish that I had the time and opportunity to introduce myself to each and every vendor and thank you for your efforts.

I would like to thank my family for all their tiredless efforts which never goes unnoticed, but many times unmentioned. To my secretary Christina and the entire staff of Comfy Cuisine...you guys are the BEST!

Most of all, I would like to thank all the people that came to sample great food, and support Celiac Awareness. Without you guys, there is no vendor fair, just many miserable vendors. I've been there, done that and it's no fun. I had hoped for 250 people to attend this event, and I know I promised all the the vendors there would be roughly 300 people attending. I hate making promises that I can't keep, and I am not one to break a promise, but at the end of the day and well over 700 people had walked through the door, laughing and smiling, enjoying great food, and just having fun....what can I say, you guys made a liar out of me!!!

THANK YOU TO ALL!
June 10, 2007 Save the date! let's do it agian.
John Muscarello, President
Comfy Cuisine Inc.

Michael Thorn said...

Hi LV of Queens-
I appreciate your concern about the possibility of gluten at our fair.

I spoke to Rhoda Plotkin of Lifefield Buckwheat this morning. She used La Choy soy sauce which is gf. Her concern was that people be aware that soy was in the food since some people may need to avoid soy. She is well aware of the need to be 100% gf and the facility itself and all of the vendors were aware as well.

The fair was an amazing event that exceeded our wildest expectations.

Attendance was 702!

The event would not have been such a success without the extremely generous contributions by John Muscarello of Comfy Cuisine. He stepped in and offered us his gf dedicated manufacturing facility, contacted the media and his customers and spend many hours working on every detail of the event so that it would go smoothly. His family also contributed a great deal as well.

We had our own terffic volunteers who helped out with every aspect of the event.

We had bloggers like David and the Celiac Chicks as well as CD experts like Anne Lee and Ann Whelan.

It was a tremendous day and a success for Suffolk County Celiacs. Our mission is to provide support, education and awareness.

We meet monthly (except Aug & Jan) in West Islip, NY.

If anyone would like the list of vendor and contact info feel free to email me at mthorn@aol.com

We had many new companies..including one who drove from Colorado to be there!

Many thanks to everyone who attended and supported the event.

-Michael Thorn, RN
Chairperson, Suffolk County Celiacs-a Brand of GIG

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
Thanks for checking in on the soy sauce. I am not as sensitive as other celiacs, but I did want to raise my concerns. Congratulations to Comfy Cuisine and the Suffolk County Celiacs on a huge success!
-Lizzy V. (of Queens)

viagra online pharmacy said...

Thanks to those sellers because it is quite hard to get that kind of food (gluten-free).