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Gluten-Free Bakery Brings Worry-Free Treats to Newton, MA

By Kelly Gallagher

A piece of cake can be a slice of heaven- but when you live with food allergies or a condition such as Celiac disease, a simple treat isn't always so simple. Many establishments are not equipped to accommodate special dietary needs, and just one innocent slip-up could have serious medical consequences. Typically, it's safer for people with food sensitivities to make all their dishes at home- but who has the time for that?

Harriet's Bakery

Residents of Newton, Massachusetts don't have to worry. Here, "sweet-tooths" who want a sugar fix without fretting about surprise ingredients can turn to Harriet's Bakery, a licensed, gluten-free kitchen offering a wide variety of baked goods for delivery throughout the Newton area. The proprietor, Harriet Finck, is so dedicated to keeping her products completely safe, she has taken the care to ensure that her oven, utensils, and all pots, pans, and mixers have never come in contact with gluten. She has also taken an allergen awareness class and lists all her products' ingredients on her website. This ensures that customers who are dairy-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, or vegan know which of Harriet's treats can be freely and safely savored. The entire bakery is also peanut-free.

"The most popular items are the fudgy brownies, frosted mint brownies, chocolate chip cookies, butter cookies, biscotti, and muffins," says Finck. "I am very busy at Thanksgiving making apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies. I make more than 40 different products."

In addition to deliveries, customers can also acquire treats from Harriet's Bakery at the Newton farmers' market and at other summer and winter markets throughout the region. Harriet's Bakery is also the proud winner of the "Best Brownie" award, given at the annual Death by Chocolate Tasting sponsored by the Rotary Club of Newton and Waltham. Harriet's is the first gluten-free bakery to win an award at this event.

"I think it is very important for this area to have gluten-free options because more and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac and other problems for which reducing gluten is necessary," says Finck. "A dedicated gluten-free bakery eliminates the concerns about cross-contamination, which can be an issue in a bakery that produces items made of wheat flour in addition to gluten-free options."

Finck, who worked as a clinical social worker and as an administrator for several non-profits before becoming an entrepreneur, says the best part of her job is seeing how her gluten-free customers' respond when they realize that all of her treats are safe for them to eat.

"I love to see people's reactions when we offer samples at the market. They ask if we have anything gluten-free, and I tell them that everything is," says Finck. "It doesn't matter how old they are- they are ecstatic!"

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About The Author

Kelly Gallagher studied creative writing at SUNY Oswego and Vermont College of Fine...

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