A Pocatello woman and her nephew who make and sell gluten-free treats at the Portneuf Valley Farmers Market in Pocatello say they also found a solid market earlier in the season at the new Chubbuck Farmers Market in Chubbuck near Geronimo’s.
Brittany Cleaves says she and nephew Tanner Gilman, who’s a co-owner, sold their baked goods at both the Portneuf Valley Farmers Market in Pocatello and the Chubbuck Farmers Market until the Chubbuck site closed for the season.
They launched their business in May and started selling at the farmers market in June this year.
Cleaves, who was selling her food items at the Portneuf Valley Farmers Market on Saturday, says it was beneficial to have the market in Chubbuck, too.
“We get a whole new crowd,” said Cleaves, whose business with 20-year-old Gilman is called The Big GF Bakery. “Tons of people and the environment is just a little bit different than here and it’s fun to meet all those new people.”
They sold their treats in Chubbuck three or four times during the season.
In fact, she said there was one time during the Chubbuck selling season that they actually sold out all of their products.
“It was a hit,” Cleaves said. “It was good.”
So she and Gilman are excited to participate in the Wednesday sales in Chubbuck again next season.
“We like doing both,” she said.
And the 34-year-old businesswoman feels like she and Gilman are doing a service for people who suffer from celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s apparently not uncommon in the area.
She always knew there were people in the area with the condition, which she and Gilman also have. But they didn’t know just how many there were, said Cleaves.
“You don’t realize how many people are in your community that have celiac or the gluten sensitivity,” she said. “And so it feels good to come out here and be able to help those people that haven’t been able to enjoy all of those yummy baked goods.”
Cleaves says that overall the Saturday Portneuf Valley Farmers Market generally has over 20 percent more people than at the Chubbuck site.
“Just because I think it’s on a weekend,” she said.
But the Chubbuck site is seasonally complementary to it, including the time she sold out of all her products there.
Meanwhile, after she learned that Gilman was having celiac issues, she had a suggestion.
“I told him to go on a gluten-free diet and so he tried it and noticed that his tummy issues were going away,” Cleaves said.
So when he moved back, they got to talking and chose to join forces to start a business.
“We decided he liked to bake and I like to bake and so we decided why not give it a try and do the farmers market and see what happens, where it goes,” she said.
And they found a strong demand for their treats.
“It’s gone really good — it’s been a hit,” Cleaves said.
Meanwhile, she says her gluten-free diet helped to heal her own intestines and relieve the pain.
“So I’m very picky on what I eat and where I eat,” she said. “If I can’t guarantee that it’s gluten-free then I don’t eat it,” she said.
And Cleaves says they want their clients to know that all of their products are gluten free and that they don’t use anything that’s processed on a wheat line. That’s to avoid any potential for wheat getting into their products.
She says the products have been well received by many customers.
“They absolutely love it. We’ve had tons of great reviews,” she said. “We have tons of customers that are repeat customers that always come back.”
And Cleves said the best-selling items are the peanut butter squares and the bread.
Meanwhile, Gilman plays a key role in the business.
“He knew a lot of people who ran the farmers market,” she said. “And so when they contacted him and told him the prices and everything and the terms, we decided to go ahead and give it a try.”
Cleaves, meanwhile, contacted the health department to learn about about the regulations and guidelines and then got her license for their food creations.
“And then from there we thought of our recipes and sampled and tried them until we got them where we wanted them and then we decided to go for it,” she said. “Go for broke.”
And it’s been going well.
“We’ve had a couple weeks where we’ve done so-so, but other than that we pull in a pretty good crowds at the farmers market,” Cleaves said.
The business can be reached at email@example.com. Like them on Facebook and Instagram, or call them at 208-241-2403 or 801-510-9876.
The Chubbuck Farmers Market was open during the season from 4 to 8 p.m. at Patriot’s Plaza by Geronimo’s.