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Gluten-free bakery to enter Potsdam village this fall

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POTSDAM — As of this fall the village of Potsdam will have a new bakery, courtesy of Chris Durand and Faye M. Ori of Cubby T. Clown & Company. Mr. Durand — who has celiac disease — hopes to provide St. Lawrence County with its first gluten-free business, a place where those with celiac disease need not fear cross-contamination issues or limitations in what edibles they can buy.

According to Ms. Ori, producing gluten-free foods is a tricky business. Major flour types such as white and whole wheat, rye and barley must be avoided, which forces gluten-free bakers to get more creative with ingredients.

“It’s a very difficult thing to do and do right,” Mr. Durand said.

He said most businesses that provide gluten-free products do so alongside those with gluten in the same facility. This presents a cross-contamination issue, causing someone with celiac’s disease to get sick, Mr. Durand said. In order to prevent this, a facility must be completely gluten-free.

The pair wants to offer these products to families and children. They are looking to provide people with celiac’s disease the same eating options and pleasures that others have.

“My wife and I are on a mission,” Mr. Durand said.

To those with celiac disease, common pleasures like cakes and hot dogs are to be avoided unless there is a gluten-free version available. In St. Lawrence County there isn’t, and the couple plan to remedy that, said Mr. Durand.

“How sad is it that a child who’s having a birthday, and is looking for a birthday cake can’t find one?” Mr. Durand said.

Product ingredients will depend upon what recipes require, and will include such things as oat flour, potato starch and tapioca flour among others, said Ms. Ori. Different mixtures of flours will be used as needed for cookies, cakes, breads and other products. Ms. Ori is still in the midst of recipe testing, and plans to supplement her current knowledge with gluten-free baking classes taken at King Arthur Flour’s Baking Education Center.

Mr. Durand for the last few months has been renting the space at 51 Market St., which will house the new business. The bakery will be within walking distance of Potsdam’s colleges and will have parking space available behind the building, Mr. Durand said.

“We’ll be the first gluten free bakery in St. Lawrence County,” Mr. Durand said. The bakery will be offering a variety of items including cakes, cookies, pizza and many other items found in a normal bakery. Mr. Durand also intends to offer items that he himself has had trouble finding, such as stuffing.

Mr. Durand and Ms. Ori hope to open their bakery no later than the end of September. Mr. Durand estimates the necessary renovations will take one month, though he has not yet signed the contracts for his loans so that work can begin.

All told, the bakery will employ between 5 and 8 people — depending on the volume of goods produced — which includes Mr. Durand, Ms. Ori and possibly a few employees from one of their businesses. He is also seeking interviews from the public, looking for individuals who have experience with celiac disease and a knowledge of gluten-free foods.

To learn more, visit the bakery’s Facebook page, 3 Bears Gluten-Free Bakery & More.

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