By Mariah Rankin
Vicki Brignati always loved to bake. But when her son Alex was diagnosed with severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and peas, her baking took on a different meaning.
“Her life became devoted to learning everything there was to know about food allergies and keeping him safe,” says Kristen Poulin, who co-owns Alexander’s Bakery with Brignati. “Alexander’s Bakery was created with a simple premise – everyone should be able to enjoy baked goods safely.”
Brignati and Poulin brought Alexander’s Bakery to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year. At their stall, located on the north end of High Rock Park on Wednesdays, they offer a range of baked goods, all of which are free of such allergens as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. They also sell at the market’s Clifton Park location on Mondays.
Alexander’s Bakery’s goods also are vegan and gluten-free. In this sense, Brignati and Poulin represent a small but growing group of prepared food businesses that are dedicated to creating foods anyone can eat.
“We quickly realized that we were filling a gap,” say Brignati and Poulin.
“We have been so warmly received by people with food allergies and sensitivities. They have told us many times how happy they are that we exist. We’ve also been well-received by many people who do not have food allergies or sensitivities. They simply love our products.”
Among the favorites is a whoopie pie that also is vegan, gluten-free, and made without the major allergens that plague many residents of the Capital area and others nationwide.
In addition to eliminating allergens, Brignati and Poulin try to take advantage of local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. They debuted an iced blueberry lemon cookie at the market’s blueberry festival in late July. As fall approaches, they’re looking forward to unveiling iced pumpkin spiced mini muffins and apple cinnamon granola. The latter features locally grown apples that Brignati and Poulin dry themselves.
The pair describes the summer and their decision to sell at three farmers’ markets as a big step. They look forward to continued growth through the fall and next year.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities.