By Julia Howard, Market Director
Minutes before the opening bell rings Wednesdays at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Julz and Marty Irion fire up a burner to warm samples of their product, a gluten free spätzle.
The bell rings and a heady aroma fills the air. Market goers walk by, stop and smell.
“Would you like a sample?” Marty asks. As the shoppers taste the dish, Marty and Julz tell its story. Spätzle is a German dish made typically with wheat, flour, and eggs. The Irions’ version is gluten free, made with a blend of tapioca, corn, and potato flours along with local milk and eggs, and nutmeg.
Together, Marty and Julz have created a no-boil spätzle that is unique, delicious, and the only one of its kind worldwide.
Marty was born in Erlangen, Germany and loved the dish made the traditional way. He and Julz met in 1985 and married four years later. Julz started to make spätzle for the family.
Eight years ago, the couple needed to drop wheat from their diets. They were unwilling to let go of their love for spätzle so Julz began experimenting with alternatives. She found that creating a good gluten free version of the German favorite was not easy. The experiments stretched out for seven years. Until March 2017. “The family sat around the dinner table that night,” recalls Marty. “We taste it and we all said at the same time, ‘This is so good.’ ” They also realized they needed to share it, and decided, on March 11, 2017, to go forth with that plan.
Vermont Spätzle Company, based in Arlington, VT, sold its first spätzle in June 2017. The Irions offer it now at 60 stores and farmers’ markets. The appeal of their spätzle goes beyond being gluten free. On the packaging are the words “Package to pan in 90 seconds”, making spätzle a quick and easy dish to prepare.
For Julz, perfecting spätzle has been a carefully thought out craft. It’s not just the ingredients that matter, she says, but also the method of combining them, one at a time, in layers. She emphasizes its versatility: Her spätzle absorbs flavor, retains moisture, and is readily combined with a wide range of ingredients. Marty meanwhile focuses on his love for spätzle, a love he shares as he offers samples and stories.
Both he and Julz are gratified that so many customers keep coming back.
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, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities.