Issued on behalf of the Stockton Farmers Market
Finding out she had a life-changing health condition turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for Bishop Auckland baker Mandy Savage.
And, after finding it hard to track down the type of gluten and wheat free foods she could actually enjoy after being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, Mandy was inspired to set up her own Gluten Free Bakery instead.
Now, just over two years later, Mandy and partner Keith Bond are popular stallholders at Stockton and Saltburn Farmers' Markets and a growing number of specialist UK food events, sell directly to shops and wholesalers, and have a busy online shop of their own too.
And Stockton shoppers can look forward to more of Mandy's gluten free specials at Stockton Farmers' Market this Saturday. (25 October).
A dab hand in the kitchen, Mandy has developed a mouth-watering range of over 30 gluten free products, with a tasty range of pies including Chicken & Mushroom, Steak & Kidney, Cheesy Leek & Potato, three varieties of fruit pies, a selection of quiches, scones and muffins and, with Santa already warming up, a tempting selection of Christmas Cakes too.
Mandy said: "I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease after going through six long years of tests from doctors who couldn't work out what was wrong with me.
"I woke up one morning and my whole face was swollen. I looked like I had been in the boxing ring with Mike Tyson - the swelling would subside and then a few weeks later I would swell up again.
"This went on and on and I saw different doctors, and not one of them could tell me what was wrong. Finally one said that he would send me to an immunologist.
"I was 38 when diagnosed and had been eating a normal diet until this time. I was told to go gluten free and did some shopping around, but found it very hard to change and very difficult to find nice food that I could actually enjoy.
"So that turned out to be real inspiration, and I had a dream that one day I would have my own online shop that sells gluten-free food that everyone could enjoy.
"When I met my partner Keith, he helped me make the dream come true as he has the internet skills and online experience to make it all a reality.
"And here we are just two years later, selling our food all over the country and enjoying being part of the Farmers' Markets at Saltburn and Stockton.
"We're really looking forward to being in Stockton this Saturday. Last month was our first anniversary of being part of the team at Stockton, and we always love meeting new and old customers face to face. It's great to chat to people about what we do, and it's always a great day out."
- Stockton Farmers' Market. Stockton High Street, just opposite M&S. Saturday 25 October. 9am-3pm. A tasty mix of independent food producers from within a 50-mile radius of the town will include freshly baked artisan bread; Skinningrove Wines; hand-made cheeses; locally produced sausages, meat & game; free-range eggs; traditional ginger wine and ginger cakes; home-made jams and chutneys; farmhouse cakes from North Yorkshire; chilli sauces from Saltburn; locally made Italian pasta; a gluten-free bakery; and homewares from Vintage Polly.
- Further Markets take place on Saturday 29 November, plus a Christmas special on Saturday 20 December. For further info, see Stockton Farmers' Market on facebook.
- For further info on Gluten Free Foods, see www.glutenfreefoodproducts.co.uk