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All-natural food company is the germination

17 July 2009 1,749 views No Comment

Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, all-natural and organic products are sprouting up at local farmers markets as more buyers and sellers think green.

One such purveyor is Home Grown Design Foods in Converse, which specializes in all-natural, 100 percent gluten-free salsas, sauces, seasonings, jams, cornmeal and baking mixes.

Owner Sally Drew, who purchased Lamb Stone Ground Cornmeal from the Lamb heirs, started HGD Foods in 2003.

“We had a family member (who) found out that she had to eat gluten-free,” Drew said. “So when we started doing blending and mixing, we just kept the entire facility gluten-free.”

HGD Foods Gluten-Free Baking Mixes are produced in a gluten-free facility, and most products are dairy-, egg-, peanut-, tree nut-, fish-, shellfish-, soy- and wheat-free.

“Since it’s such a small family business, we only have two phases to our processing,” Drew said. “We have a commercial kitchen where we can our products, like salsas, jams, jellies and apple sauces, and then we have the dry facility where we grind fresh stone-ground cornmeal almost every day and we blend the gluten-free baking mixes and we do seasoning blends and cocoa blends.”

Hand-peeled chunks of tart Granny Smith apples from Washington are used in HGD Foods’ applesauce, complementing the sweetness of the mango and strawberry.

“Our pizza crust compares to Papa John’s, our brownie mix compares to Betty Crocker, and (recently) they wrote up in the SA Saver online that our pancakes were big and fluffy like International House of Pancakes,” Drew said.

Select HGD Foods products can be purchased from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at Pearl Brewery Farmers Market, 269 Pearl Parkway, Building 2, at H-E-B or online at www.hgdfoods.com.

The Green Brownie Co.

Tracy Carlson started The Green Brownie Co. in October. She offers 100 percent organic and gluten-free brownies.

The Green Brownie Co. is a fully licensed eco-friendly bakery. Products are made without oils, artificial flavorings or preservatives and are baked in glassware, not aluminum pans. The company also uses all-natural packaging and recycles.

The gluten-free brownies are made with a mixture of organic brown rice flour and organic ground raw almonds.

“We started at the Leon Springs Farmers Market, and I had such an incredible number of requests for gluten-free because it’s such an issue,” Carlson said. “Gluten is the protein in wheat. So many people get deathly ill from it — they can’t tolerate it and it’s a hard thing for them to find food. I’ve been amazed at the response.”

Carlson worked with two dietitians who helped her with the gluten-free recipe and the nutritional panel and ingredient listing on the package label.

The gluten-free and original “green” brownie, made with organic semisweet chocolate and cocoa, as well as “green” brownies-on-a-stick and a new gluten-free berry bar, can be purchased at the Leon Springs Farmers Market, 24133 Boerne Stage Road, on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m-1 p.m. and the Boerne Farmers Market, Kendall County Fairgrounds front lot, Texas 46 east of Boerne, on Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m.

The Green Brownie Co. also caters parties and events. Visit www.thegreenbrowniecompany.com.

Sol y Luna

Sol y Luna is a family-owned baking company specializing in Old World rustic breads, croissants and pastries made without preservatives.

“My husband’s been baking since he was 16 years old and he’s worked for small and big bakeries, and we’ve just always wanted to open a little mom ‘n’ pop shop,” co-owner Anna Gaytan said.

The couple opened their business in May 2008 using knowledge passed down from artisan bakers.

Soy y Luna’s focaccia and its natural ferment sourdough baguettes are two tasty options.

The products are available at Sol y Luna, 4421 De Zavala Road, or from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays at Pearl Brewery Farmers Market. Call (210) 492-5777 or go to www.solylunabakingco.com.

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