I went to an interesting event today, a showcase for the North Florida Food Alliance.
The alliance is a group of 10 small, local food companies who have banded together to help their businesses grow. What I found fascinating is how many of these businesses are producing products that are gluten free, and how much awareness there was about keeping gluten-free products safe for those of us how need it.
For example, one company called Olive my Pickle makes "lacto fermented pickle products." One of the owners, Charlotte Tzabari, explained why that process makes healthier products, which I didn't quite follow. But she did get my attention when she told me they have tested their pickles for gluten to confirm that they are gluten free. That was nice to hear.
Another interesting product was a line of natural dog treats by a company called Pawfection Bakery. Owner Amy Gorman told me that her products are wheat free. Since I know some dog owners want to keep gluten away from their dogs before dogs start licking their faces, that could be helpful.
I also enjoyed some really good gourmet toffee products from Topsy Toffee that are gluten free.
The originator of the food alliance is Mark Patterson, who started a frozen dessert company called Naturally Smart Foods. Its frozen concoctions are gluten free.
Many of these products are available in local grocery stores, particularly Native Sun. It's just nice to see so many gluten-aware small businesses offering gluten-free products.