Artisan Gluten-Free Baked Goods - Small Batch - High Quality Ingredients - Certified Gluten Free Dedicated Bakery (GFFP)
What is a Certified Gluten Free Dedicated Bakery?
Julie Covey (Owner/Operator of Jul’s Gluten Free Bakery) is one of the first and only operations in BC to be identified as GF-Dedicated™ by The Gluten-Free Food Program (GFFP). The program provides food service handlers and operators with the required knowledge and best practices to responsibly meet the special dietary needs of people needing to eat gluten free food. Through easily identifiable and recognizable brand marks (as shown above), the GFFP helps consumers find safer, more reliable gluten free options for eating out.
Jul's favorite baked goods and ingredients used?
All products are hand baked, created in the store, and Julie developed all the recipes. Several of the products are also corn free and soy free.
Julie sells carrot cake, fruit scones, green pea flour brownies, and pies (fruit, chorizo, and chicken potpie). Quality ingredients are key to her artisan baked goods, sourcing from local Vancouver companies such as Westpoint Naturals, using local and organic whenever possible from Garrison Greens, and Sardis Health Food Store to name few. Her beef is local, grass fed and grass finished, and produced by her husband and his ranch business partner in 150 Mile House. Their website is www.doublegcattle.ca . She bakes as an "in-house" baker for the Town Butcher where she has her own baking equipment, utensils, butcher block counter and space for her products. In the future, Julie plans to sell more paleo products and create mixes, so her customers’ can do their own thing. No one in the shop uses gluten-containing flour.
What are a few of Jul's biggest challenges baking gluten free for others?
One of her biggest challenges was trying to convince her customers that she was in fact, gluten free. When the Gluten Free Food Program (GFFP) started, she thought that this could actually help her. She found the process very straight forward and as she moved through the on-line training modules, the fact that she was celiac herself, made her familiar with all the concepts in the training.
How Did Julie Open Jul's Gluten Free Bakery?
Julie started her GF business, by joining friends at the local Farmer’s Market. They had had customers requesting GF baking. Julie could fill that need. As her children graduated from school, she found her life changing and she had more time – no more soccer games to attend. She found that the Farmer’s Market was fun. Baking, however, was a lot of preparation. She found a Certified kitchen at family owned Kinkora Golf Course, and started the process of working with the Health authorities and the CCA in insuring the kitchen was set up to ensure no cross contamination. She soon outgrew the Kinkora Golf Course kitchen! She had her Carrot Cake tested to ensure it was gluten free and started retailing her product at Lepp’s Market and other specialty stores including Neufeld’s Farms, Nature’s Pickin’s, Sardis Health Food Store and The Town Butcher. She added banana bread to the product line. She moved to a new kitchen at a local elementary school, but only lasted 6 months, as it was exhausting. She moved all baking materials back and forth from home. At that time, she was still working full-time as a secretary in the school system and had an assistant to help with the baking. It was a lot of fun, but she simply collapsed due to all the work.
She next rented space from the Town Butcher and finally started to see a small profit. When, Bill Turnbull, the owner of the Town Butcher moved to south end of Chilliwack, it was a better location, bigger kitchen and the business started to blossom from there.
What has Julie learned over the past 5 years running a Gluten Free Bakery?
She has learned that you never give up when you are starting a business. You must face your fears. Julie works to try to create balance in her life. Break through limitations, do not be passive, do what you believe in and above all, be yourself.
Looking back, Julie would not have done things differently. She learned as she went along and the knowledge gained was invaluable. She is not making a quick buck, but she is enjoying what she is doing. She was “Born to bake!
”The future of the business looks great. Chilliwack is growing fast and Cultus Lake is booming. In Chilliwack, many people do their own baking, grow their own vegetables and have gardens. This growth will contribute to her business being successful.
Julie's Personal Auto-Immune Journey
Julie grew up in Southern Ontario in a German Mennonite farming community. This meant great farm produce, as well as, wonderful baking and all that wonderful gluten. She remembers not feeling well often after eating the wonderful ethnic meals prepared by her family. She was always very small. Her sister was very
athletic and Julie always felt very insecure about the way she looked when she compared herself to her sister’s voluptuous figure. Although small, Julie started to have a distended stomach. She was afraid to eat and rationed herself to near starvation. Unfortunately, the prescription to eat properly pushed her the opposite direction, to binge eating. This eating disorder lasted 15 years, until she received the celiac disease (CD) diagnosis.
Her doctor was confused, as he did not feel her symptoms were typical of CD. The eat disorder and CD damaged her body. After her own very difficult and painful journey with CD, Julie wanted to make a difference so she opened “Jul’s Gluten Free Bakery” in Chilliwack. Julie did not have a chance when it came CD as many in her family have CD. Her mother, her sister and her mom’s sister have all been diagnosed. On her father’s side, her father’s younger sister was diagnosed and her father, although not diagnosed, passed away of Lymphoma at 60 years of age. During his life, he had all the symptoms of CD.
In 1938, when her mom was 4 years old the doctor had given up hope of saving her life. The neighbors and cousins came to say their goodbyes. In a fial effort to save her, she received a blood transfusion and for whatever reason, it spared her life. Her mom always had stomach issues and suffered from anemia. Her diet included a significant amount of gluten. Unfortunately, she was not diagnosed until she was in her 60’s. Despite not feeling well, her mom was an enterprising person and today she is 83 and doing well.Julie was relieved with the CD diagnosis. To start the healing process she recommends – good food for life. Once she did that, she no longer had sugar cravings and from never being satisfied, she was finally satisfied. “It is your journey and everyone is different. Join the CCA and be part of group if possible. Try to keep it simple and not be overwhelmed.” There are so many wonderful products available today and much research is occurring today. She had success by finding a Naturopath who was knowledgeable and understood the gut.
Julie did not have a chance when it came CD as many in her family have CD. Her mother, her sister and her mom’s sister have all been diagnosed. On her father’s side, her father’s younger sister was diagnosed and her father, although not diagnosed, passed away of Lymphoma at 60 years of age. During his life, he had all the symptoms of CD.
Original Article for the Canadian Celiac Society Magazine submitted by Val Vaartnou