Gluten Free Garage: The Sequel

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Are you ready for some tummy love? The Gluten Free Garage, Toronto’s hip, hot pop-up marketplace (much like a community farmer’s market) offering all things deliciously gluten-free is returning for the second time this Sunday, April 28th from 10am – 4pm at Wychwood Barns. Tickets will be available at the door.

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Gluten Free Garage Founder RonniLyn Pustil + daughter Lily

RonniLyn Pustil is the event founder and organizer. Her daughter Lily, age 7 has celiac disease, and she is the heart and inspiration behind the event. “My vision is to bring together all of our favourite gluten-free suppliers—the bakeries, the specialty stores, the restaurants—and the tried-and-true products we enjoy for a perfect day of delicious one-stop shopping at the Artscape Wychwood Barns…and, ultimately, to make the gluten-free lifestyle more enjoyable and less challenging.” RonniLyn has done an exceptional job of organizing this one-of-a-kind event that has had the whole city raving about her efforts over the past 5 months, since its inception.

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The first tummy love filled event took place on Remembrance Day, November 11th, 2012. It was a fabulous, memorable day indeed! The event saw 1500+ attendees, and over 40 top-notch gluten-free vendors boasting mouth watering goodies. There was even more than food – from cosmetics to books, to nutritional supplements, the wide assortment of products and vendors was extremely well thought out. We were a proud vendor and thoroughly enjoyed our day seeing old friends (including de Floured, Elisa’s Gluten-Free Goodness, O’Doughs, Sol Cuisine, Sweets from the Earth, and many others), and meeting new ones.

We can’t wait to do it all again! This year there is no shortage of excitement, with over 50 stellar gluten-free vendors; many will be returning from the first event. You’ll be able to sample gluten-free deliciousness from our friends, including de Floured, Elisa’s Gluten-Free Goodness, O’Doughs, Raw Foodz, Sol Cuisine, Sweets from the Earth, Sunflower Kitchen, Udi’s, and so many more! There will also be special guest speakers throughout the day, including our friends Kathy Smart, Ricki Heller and Maggie Savage!

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If you’re planning to attend, be sure to visit our table to meet Kathy Smart, and to hear a special, exciting announcement we’ll be making along with Kathy and Allergic Solution!

We asked RonniLyn a few questions about her tummy love filled event, and here is what she had to say.

RonniLyn Pustil, Founder of Gluten Free Garage shares her gluten-free journey:

What led you to create Gluten Free Garage?

My daughter Lily–the Gluten Free Garage muse. After she was diagnosed with celiac disease four years ago we made our house gluten free. It was just easier for us to all eat gluten free at home and that way our home became a worry-free zone for Lily where everything is safe to eat. In the early days of our gluten-free life, there was a lot of trial and error. We ate lots of food that tasted bad and too much that wasn’t particularly good for us. I was so excited every time I saw a new GF product at the grocery store that I’d buy it. I was on a mission to discover gluten-free food that we could all enjoy and, most importantly, that Lily would love.

I scoured the city, not just for products to buy but also places to eat. I’d often find myself driving from one end of the city to the other (with several stops in between) to pick up our favourite gluten-free products from our favourite local vendors. One night after attending a gluten-free “shopping spree” in Oakville, I thought wouldn’t it be great to gather all of our favourite vendors together under one roof–at the Artscape Wychwood Barns–and show off our gluten-free finds, like a farmers’ market with a gluten-free twist! To give people the opportunity to try these amazing products before they buy them (we all know how costly GF food can be!)? And I love a garage sale, so the name just came to me. Now my mission is not just to discover gluten-free food–it’s about discovering the best gluten-free food! These days you can walk into virtually any supermarket and find many packaged and frozen gluten-free foods but it can be more difficult to find fresh, wholesome and delicious GF products that are also locally made. We’ve done the homework and we hope people will come enjoy it in our worry-free gluten-free zone!

Tell us more about the Gluten Free Garage, and some key highlights.

At our Spring GFG (we’re calling it “The Sequel”), we’ll be showcasing more than 50 vendors, mostly local, who will be selling everything from pasta to pastry to popsicles. There’s a really eclectic mix of vendors, including some great skincare lines, and there will be lots of sampling going on! This time we’ve added a guest speaker series featuring five fantastic speakers who will talk about different aspects of healthy gluten-free living (click here for guest speaker schedule: http://glutenfreegarage.ca/speakers/). And we’re super excited to be hosting two food trucks at the GFG–the first time food trucks will be allowed at Artscape Wychwood Barns!

What are your future plans for Gluten Free Garage?

We’ll just have to wait and see!

Do you have any tips for parents of children newly diagnosed with celiac disease?

First, exhale. I promise it’s not as bad as it might seem at first. You’re going to learn a lot, cook more, think a lot more about the food you eat, shop differently. Try to connect with somebody who’s been there, done that. Check out the loads of information and resources online–blogs, recipes, restaurant directories and more. Your child will most likely follow your lead, so do your best to make this a positive change for them. Have fun discovering new recipes, products and places together. Celebrate the things he or she can eat. See this as an opportunity to introduce healthier cooking and eating to your child and family.

Any final thoughts?

I’m really excited to be a part of the gluten-free community in Toronto. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many local vendors and tasting their gluten-free fare. Everyone at this event is passionate about the gluten-free cooking and baking that they do. Come taste for yourself!

For more information about the Gluten Free Garage, visit www.glutenfreegarage.ca

Visit Gluten Free Garage on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gluten-Free-Garage/351963754834385?fref=ts

Visit Gluten Free Garage on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Glu10FreeGarage

Will you be getting some tummy love this weekend?

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