Q&A: Nut-Free Bakeries in Western MA


Are your kids allergic to nuts? Maybe you can help Julie Rodrigues Tanguay out with a recommendation for a nut-free bakery. Julie writes, “I’m looking for recommendations for nut-free bakeries, or responsible practices to prevent cross-contamination. Birthday cakes are a must in our family, but I just don’t have time for baking, nor am I any good at it! Any suggestions will be appreciated. Will travel for cake: Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin or Berkshire counties. Good buttercream would really be “the icing on the cake.”

  • Sarah Kinsman recommends:2nd Street Baking Co. in Turners Falls is really wonderful about catering to their customers’ needs. I know they recently made an egg free cake for a child with an egg allergy. Their number is 413-863-4455.”
  • Amy E. Mager recommends: “Maybe contact the Queen Bee Cupcakery about to open in Thornes Marketplace (Northampton)?”
  • Catherine Chadwick recommends:Simona’s Gluten-free Baked Goods (Haydenville) can make nut free, corn free, gluten free cakes and cupcakes. Just tell her your concerns… Very nice and honest.”
  • Katie Green recommends: “Head over to Cafe Evolution in Florence… Molly is so fantastic at making allergy free treats that are sure to please!”
  • Dawn Hansen Kempf recommends:Sweet Jane’s in Greenfield…she makes nut-free cakes…chocolate cake is to die for, and the buttercream is the best in town… Sweet Jane’s can make gluten free as well! Cookies, cakes, cupcakes…”
  • Valerie Gintis recommends:Woodstar Cafe (Northampton) is a great place to start!”

Share your recommendations too!

Hindsight Parenting: Parenting a Gluten-Free Child

So Your Daughter Has Gluten Intolerance?

We can’t be everywhere, and what about those situations where the rest of her class or the Birthday party is scarfing down cupcakes with butter crème frosting decorated with raspberries? (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

“So your daughter has your gluten intolerance as well?” The nurse grimaced and her faced seemed to echo my sentiments exactly-grimace, grrr, darn-it-all and other choice words and phrases that I can’t share on this family site. A food allergy, speaking again from hindsight, is a pain in the you-know-what. Now, when we discovered certain lacy rashes that showed up on random places on Ila’s body, especially her hands, we knew that there had to be some food explanation since the timing of their appearances coincided exactly when we started solid food with her.

At first we thought that perhaps it was peanuts, and when it wasn’t that, we tried removing eggs from her diet since her father suffered from an egg allergy. Each time we removed a certain type of food, I hoped against all hope that the culprit was something that could easily be removed from her diet without it having a great effect on her life. After all, we had been through this before and I knew that a ginormous over arching umbrella like allergy was not easy to enforce or easy with which to wrangle a child into believing or liking.

When Son2 was 4 after a dinner of a Burger King Chicken sandwich, red Hi C and a large fry, he literally flipped his ever lovin’ mind in a way that reminded me of a cartoon gorilla escaping from his cage—metal bars bent, steaming coming from his nose and deep rumbling grunts coming from deep in his gullet. This behavior continued all night long and even though I was the parent, I felt as if I was being held hostage in my own home (Unfortunately not the last time this ever happened.). The next morning, sleep deprived and weepy, I visited our pediatrician Dr. Dapper sans Son2 and sobbed on a tiny bench in one of his check up offices. He patted my back saying matter of factly,”Let it out. Let it out.” Once I pulled myself together, my tear streaked face looked up and asked Dr. Dapper for advice. What he said was completely unexpected. “In order to see if his reaction was from the food he ate last night, I want you to go back to Burger King tonight and replicate the meal he had exactly. Let’s see if he acts the same way tonight.”

As it turns out he did react the same exact way and through a complicated process we discovered that Son2 was allergic to almost anything put in foods that wasn’t of the earth. That is right. You heard me. Dyes, preservatives, chemically processed anything (which is almost EVERYTHING on a grocery shelf) was off limits to Son2. Too much of that stuff and Son2 became that cartoon gargantuan gorilla trying to escape his cage. Fast food restaurants seemed to be the worst culprits and so we cut them out of our diet completely.

But as I said in the beginning of this column, knowing he had this problem and getting him to buy into it was two different things. As he got older, he indulged more and more in the forbidden ingredient prognosticating that everyone else can have it, that he should be able to have it too. The struggle to keep him chemical free became a downright battle in our house (Unfortunately, one that I lost most times.).

And I guess this is why I was so sad, anxious, and grumbly when we removed gluten from Ila’s diet and lo and behold the rashes disappeared. Of all things…of all things….gluten. I mean it is everywhere. If the moon is made of cheese, the Earth is made of gluten. Sheesh. She already begs for crackers and we have yet to find any gluten free that rival Goldfish Crackers. I can’t help but think about future problems like Birthday parties both in and out of school, snacks at friends’ houses and those quick trips to Mickey D’s after a soccer practice. I want to do it differently this time. I want to avoid the fights and the poor me attitude that sometimes comes along with depriving a child of something. I am smart enough this time to start the education part of it early. She is only two, but her dad and I have already explained that those sore hands come along with eating bread and crackers. (All right…it is a little simplified. But she is only TWO!) But it is the future that I still have no answers for. We can’t be everywhere, and what about those situations where the rest of her class or the Birthday party is scarfing down cupcakes with butter crème frosting decorated with raspberries?….(ok, I may digress…but I’ve been gluten free since June! Hold please while I dab away the drool.) Okay…

So, dear readers, what do you suggest? How does a mom go about preparing her daughter about her allergy in a way that doesn’t make her feel deprived but instead empowered? Need your help on this one and would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!


Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.  Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.

Western MA Folk Remedies for Chest Congestions and Allergies

Chest Congestion

Natural allergy relief: common stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. (Photo credit: Tony(a) Lemos)

Onion Cough Syrup: 2 lbs. onion, peeled and cut. Use enough raw honey to cover onions (1 1/2 – 2 lbs.) in a double boiler or crockpot. Heat to simmer. Add 1/2 oz each; Anise seed, Wild Cherry bark, cut Licorice root, Horehound. Cook for 2 hours. Strain by squeezing mixture through cheesecloth and into clean glass container. Store in refrigerator. — Kathleen Duffy

For bronchitis and coughs I’ve done different things, but what I usually stick with and love is an infusion of thyme, coltsfoot and mullein. I also dose up on echinacea. I know some people feel it’s overused or works better before you actually get sick, but when I’ve waited too long, refusing to believe that I really need to slow down, I’ve taken a dropper-full every two hours for a couple of days and it’s worked. Of course, if I start taking it when I should, my cough doesn’t turn into bronchitis in the first place. — Cathy Whitely

To treat lung and cold congestion a home made poultice made of mustard seeds and water, rub onto chest and cover with warm cloths, go to bed; wake
up dead or alive! — Mindy’s paternal great grandmother

the truth is . . . i was raised a christian scientist, the only medicine in the medicine cabinet was a box of bandaids and some vicks vaporub. everything was dealt with through prayer and practitioners (and denial). oh yeah, we got ginger ale if we were feeling crummy . . . but otherwise, we had to “work it out” with god, prayer, reading, scripture etc. — Lois Brown (Artist, Shutesbury, MA)

Collect the leaves of sage and thyme from your garden or potted window herb box, loosely fill a pint jar, and cover with olive oil. Let it sit for a moon cycle, shaking whenever you remember. Strain. — In a double boiler (saucepan is fine on low heat if you do not have a double boiler) melt 2 oz of beeswax. Once this is melted add 1 oz of your infused sage and thyme oil. Turn off the heat and add up to 3-4 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil and up to 6 drops more of any combination of the following Essential Oils: Clove, Ravensare, Pine or Peppermint. Pour the hot liquid into your containers, and let harden. If the salve is too hard melt down and add more of the sage infused oil, if it is too soft melt down and add more beeswax. — In the Valley Essential Oils can be purchased from Cornucopia, Joia and the Greenfield Coop. They should not be used directly on the skin without first diluting in either water or oil and they should never be used internally. — Tony(a) Lemos

My other grandmother administered this remedy if we had the kind of deep, uncontrollable coughing that accompanies bronchitis. She would beat an egg white until frothy, and add fresh lemon juice and honey, beat it up a bit more and have us drink this odd foamy mixture. We weren’t crazy about drinking grandma’s potion, but it sure stopped the coughing! — Grace Edwards (Sunderland, MA)

Bone Soup to Cure Lung (what Tibetans say is too much wind energy, the feeling in the lung area that makes you spacey, anxious, restless, nervous.) Put cold water in a soup pot, add beef bones, knee bones are best! Swish to extract any juices into the water, bring up to boil then simmer for an hour adding salt, bay leaves, star anise, sechuanne peppers and sliced ginger and some cut up beef. Grounding will be insured as well as a great night’s sleep. — Eileen Latshang


allergies? what allergies? i am not allergic to anything. i don’t want to label myself or trap myself into a box. my body believes what i tell her and when i say i don’t have allergies, it is true. oh, that terrible sneezing spell i have every fall? with swollen sinuses and constant pressure, a tickle in my throat, and itchy itchy eyes. that’s just my annual adjustment period. and every year it is smoother and less painful with the help of a couple herbs and my attitude. people say, wow your allergies are really bad. i say, i don’t have allergies. i can breathe deeply all of the air around me, smell the difference in the breeze. i deserve to live and breathe and be.

you know the days when your sinuses are draining uncontrollably for the seventh day in a row and if it doesn’t stop you’re going freak out and rip your eyeballs out of your head so you can scratch the back of them? well, those are the days that you need to say . . . HEY! i can breathe freely! i can breathe deeply! i can handle anything that comes my way! i want to live and breathe and be! it can be very hard to love and encourage myself that much. i need to treat myself compassionately. i can heal myself! i don’t need to sneeze at every speck of dust or pollen or mildew in the air, i can breathe it all in, and my body is strong enough to deal with it! i am sensitive and sassy! i am free!

i say these mantras to myself while i sip a large glass of nourishing nettles leaf (urtica dioica) infusion. nettles, my dear friend and healing helper, gives me long term support for my entire being to live allergy free. you can drink as much as you want, as much as you can. nettles is like a cooked green vegetable. you can’t overdo it with the infusion, capsules on the other hand may be dangerous, and certainly not as delicious. my favorite herb to stop a sneezing attack is osha root (ligusticum porteri) infusion. you can infuse the osha root over and over again. this infusion is taken in small sips. you can feel how strong and potent it is. i take a few sips as needed each day during my freak out period of autumn, but i wouldn’t use it every day of the year. that’s what nettles is for.

while i am making, drinking, sipping my infusions i say to myself . . . i deserve to live and i deserve to breathe deeply. i deserve to live and breathe in freedom. i can do anything i want to do, and i want to live and to breathe and to be. —  emily millspaugh, wise woman herbalist, shutesbury

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Tony(a) LemosTony(a) Lemos

Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA, she also maintains an herbal medicine practice in Western Mass. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering, Falcon Ridge Folk Fest and the Women’s Herbal Conference.  Tony(a) is presently working on her next community supported project, a collection of the spirit and wisdom of the valley’s women offering alternative remedies and support for those dealing with Post Partum Depression and related condition.  A call for submissions will follow. — A Cure for What Ails appears on the second Tuesday of every month.

Why Teachers Need To Know About Food Allergies

Why Teachers Need To Know About Food Allergies

The increase in the number and severity of food allergies among children means teachers must know how to deal with reactions. Over at EducationWorld.com, Joy Rotondi suggests ways teachers can prepare themselves to respond in the event of a food-allergy emergency.  Click here to read more.

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