We have been invited to Canada’s one and only gluten free trade show held in Toronto, the brainchild and labour of love by Ronnilyn Pustil. Gluten Free Garage is the city’s ‘original pop-up gluten-free marketplace’, held Sunday, May 27, 2018 at Artscape Wychwood Barns from 10am-5pm. We are SO excited to participate in this event, as it coincides with the launch of our new online store and to introduce Schoolhouse Gluten Free Gourmet to Toronto!

The marketplace will feature over 60 gluten free vendors, food trucks, libations, guest speakers and much more. Sounds like heaven! I have to admit I am worried it will be hard for me to focus on our own booth instead of wandering around in a gluten-free-induced-state of pure joy!

Check out the Gluten Free Garage website for further info: glutenfreegarage.ca

To make this happen, we are loading up the van with our gluten-free products and driving 24 hours straight. Are we crazy? The experts say that to be an entrepreneur you need to register on the crazy scale (even if it’s just a little bit).   We have done the 24-hour long haul to the GTA many times, but it was years ago, before kids and our goals were rock shows. Food and music are mutual motivators for us, so it shouldn’t be difficult. We are totally pumped to be at this event.

Before you go, let me tell you my story.

I remember a line from a Veda Hille song that always resonated with me “my mouth holds more teeth than wisdom.” As we get older, maturity and perspective really put the pieces in place and along with it comes the wisdom. The more rotations around the sun, the more we learn, the better we become as people as we try to apply the lessons learned.

I NEVER in a million years thought I would be on the road I am now. Like most of you, I had sketched out what I deemed to be a pretty good map, and worked with the route changes as they came up. But a significant, life-altering change to that route happened when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease about 10 years ago. A life-time of health challenges, low immunity and generally feeling physically unwell came sharply into focus. It was one of many profound “a-ha! moments”. Now I knew why and I could make a plan to make my health and life better. I just needed the tools.

There were virtually no gluten-free food options ten years ago and whenever I tried to discuss it with almost anyone, I got a sideways squinted “Huh?” response. I felt like a hippie in the 80’s trying to find a local health food store before they were on every corner. Necessity brings creativity and I simply just started making my own gluten free breads, buns, sweets and foods. Whatever I could buy was generally terrible anyway.   I realized that there were people out there who were suffering just like I did…and perhaps I could help. Maybe this wasn’t a burden, but a liberation and an opportunity.

I started selling my gluten free products at farmers markets the summer of 2009, baking for 24 hours straight often to prepare in our little seaside home in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. Was this going to work? People freaked out, whether they were gluten free or not – they loved the food and couldn’t believe it was gluten free. I was on to something.

Later that summer my business and life-partner Jen and I bought a rural Nova Scotian schoolhouse in Martin’s Point, and Schoolhouse Gluten Free Gourmet was born.

We were well ahead of the trend…and then during the hurricane of 2014, we had twin girls. And it brought us to our knees. Parenting has been the hardest and most rewarding thing we’ve ever done. It has cracked us wide open (in the best way possible).

The girls will turn 4 this summer and we are starting to emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation and those early parenting aims of just keeping everyone alive. With that is a renewed sense of urgency, excitement, creativity and determination to take our bakery to the next level: with our outstanding products and exceptional customer service.

We give it our best shot to show up every day to be the best version of ourselves for us, our kids and for you.

Thank you for reading this, supporting us at the Schoolhouse and being part of my inspiration to put one foot in front of the other, every day.

Question of the day: What is your “a-ha moment” that resulted in a total change in the direction of your life?