Long Island New York is a great place for those of us who are gluten free. From gluten free bakeries to spice companies our stores, farmer’s markets, and shops are teaming with locally made gluten free products. In an effort to share some of these companies with you I’ve created a new series: Looking Local Gluten Free Series. Every month or so I’ll be sharing an interview with one of these companies that asks them about their company, products, small business ownership, tips for gluten free living, and more. At the bottom you’ll find the company’s contact details so you can send them some love if you like what you hear.
First up is End of The Line, a small company specializing in meticulously crafted naturally gluten free products that blow my mind. I discovered them at Taste the East End in Riverhead when I came across their Wine Infused French Macarons. These were stellar, and the rest of the products I’ve tried have not disappointed. I had the lunch to meet Jen an Jay when they did a popup store at the co-op kitchen they use for preparation, and I am happy to feature them here. Read on to learn more about End of The Line:
1. First I’d like to know about you. Tell us a bit more about yourself:
Jen and Jay grew up on Long Island as 20 year best friends. Due to Jen’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease in 2009 we realized that the gluten free products at the time were often lacking in flavor and texture. Jay soon created his own gluten free flour blend to fill a void in what we could find on the market and from there began reinventing classic recipes to rival the current offerings.
2. Now let’s hear about your business:
Based on Long Island, End of the Line is a small-batch gluten free baking company with modest roots. We began as a wine and food blog to bring our time tested recipes to the gluten free community. From our blog came offers to begin catering on the North Fork of Long Island at various vineyard events. A common question we received was where our products could be purchased. We then knew for sure that we had to start packaging our premier product, Wine Infused French Macarons for sale. As this product line grew, so did the need for additional treats. From our growing following we remain inspired to continually create new recipes.
3. What do you see as the number one struggle and number one success to being a small gluten free business?
We frequently struggle with people who have a preconceived notion of what gluten free products taste like. Many individuals have turned up their nose just because we state we are gluten free. They claim they have tried other companies items before and disliked them assuming ours will follow suit. We know our products are great, but sometimes gaining the trust of others is an uphill climb. Our number one success is the gratification that we feel as new entrepreneurs. Both of us maintain full time jobs and have many day to day responsibilities. We navigated the beginning phases of launching a small company, while neither of us have a background in baking or business.
4. Your products are safe for the gluten free community. Was this an intentional choice? If so why?
Yes, our products are intentionally gluten free. We feel that we have joined a community of other gluten free trailblazers. We’re proud to make products that anyone can enjoy regardless of whether they have to maintain a gluten free lifestyle. With the help of other gluten free companies (such as our amazing flour purveyor, GF Jules) we have been able to create a consistently delicious product that we are extremely proud of.
5. What precautions do you take to ensure your products are gluten free and free from cross contamination?
While not certified gluten free, we bake at The Kitchen Co-op, alongside other gluten free companies to ensure that there is no cross contamination.
6. What is your favorite gluten free product that your company makes and why?
It is tough to pick a favorite! We will always have a special place in our hearts for our premier product, our Wine Infused French Macarons. This product is inspired by our earliest supporters, the vineyards of North Fork, LI. We are extremely excited as we have just launched our newest product, Namasd8, an all-natural, vegan date bar. The Namasd8 line is a clear indication of our expansion as a small business. With this growth we have been lucky to bring on Brett, another foodie who has been an integral part of the recipe creation and the new brand design.
7. Do you have any other favorite gluten free products from other companies? If so what?
One of our long time favorite gluten free companies is Against The Grain. We have always been a fan of their french baguettes and rolls. Additionally, one of our new local friends is Bedrock Bakers. It is an honor to work alongside owner, Steve, as he makes his gluten free, paleo bagels at The Kitchen Co-op.
8. What is your biggest tip for someone who wants to buy from more local companies.
Local farmers markets and fairs are an amazing outlet to sample from different companies. You can purchase from them directly, often times meeting the owners to put a face to the name. It is a great way to learn direct from the source about what you put in your pantry. While local, artisan faire may come with a larger price tag, consumers often are purchasing product that was made that very morning. While buying from local companies may not be possible for all of your meals, we firmly believe that your patronage to small businesses directly impacts you and your community.
9. Based on your experience with making gluten free products and engaging with gluten free customers what is your top suggestion to help someone live a great gluten free life?
Our best advice is to get into the habit of really reading your food labels. We have come across many great products that are not labeled “gluten free” but a glance over the fine print proves that they can still be enjoyed by all. On the other side of the coin, unfortunately there are sneaky ingredients that may make their way into your foods. You might assume it would naturally be gluten free, but it is always advisable to know what you’re ingesting.
10. Please provide your website, social media, contact details and where people can purchase your products/ if you ship and where:
Our products are available for purchase at many fine retailers on Long Island. We also ship nationally. Please visit our online store www.endofthelinegf.com for a full list of products.