Lucy’s Gluten Free

Stocked in stores across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty & Auckland we chat to Lucy about her gluten free bread journey.

Tell us about how Lucy’s began and how you ended up creating a business with Ed and Ryan the Owners of Volare?

Just before the pandemic my family and I had gone gluten free for health reasons. Like many people starting their gluten free journey I really struggled finding any bread that didn’t feel like it was a compromise in taste and texture in comparison to normal bread. I then decided I would try and make my own; after making many failed attempts I finally got to the point where I thought the bread I was making was far better than anything else I had tried or bought. 

Before going gluten free I would often buy Volare sourdough from The Herbal Dispensary, and started wondering why they didn’t offer anything gluten free. I decided I would track down Ed, one of the Volare owners, and have a chat. After a long phone call he asked if I would come in to Volare and also meet Ryan, the other owner of the company and the baker behind all their bread. It turned out I had called at just the right time and they had always wanted to do gluten free but didn’t have the time. Two years of trials and lockdowns later we have a  purpose built bakery, and with the support of Ryan, Ed and the rest of the Volare management team, when we launched to the public 3 months ago it was really well received. We are producing bread that is now in every Volare store, many health food stores, the Hamilton and Cambridge farmer’s markets, and is delivered direct to customers throughout Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Auckland.

How did you get started with baking bread? What was the motivation?

I started originally making sourdough bread after my first child began eating solids; I wanted to make a more digestible bread for her that I could make using organic flour. I also really enjoyed the process of making it – it also helped that it tasted delicious. Then my third child was very colicky so I cut gluten and dairy from my diet while breastfeeding in the attempt to try give him some relief.

I couldn’t find any gluten free bread that I liked or suited our needs, so went down a rabbit hole of researching gluten free flours and became obsessed with trying to make a gluten free bread that tasted like proper bread without the compromise and that it just happened to be gluten free.

Have you always been a foodie? What other projects or lines of work have you been involved in?

I’m not sure if I would describe myself as a foodie, but I have always been health conscious. I am originally an operating theatre nurse, but preventative health and growing a lot of our food on our property and turning it into seasonal wholesome meals that taste delicious has always been paramount to me, and was amplified when I became a mother.

What was involved in the creation of this range?

We currently have three different loaves and the idea was that we would have a loaf to fit everyone’s needs.

The white loaf is soft and similar to your standard white bread for those who perhaps aren’t gluten free by choice, for example celiac, and really just want a white bread sandwich soft enough to stay fresh in their lunch or soft enough to have a sausage sizzle with.

The Seedy One is a sourdough bread that is packed full of wholegrain gluten free flours, and activated seeds, and is probably aimed more at people wanting a really nutritional wholesome bread that still tastes delicious and can still be eaten fresh. 

The Sourdough One is for sourdough lovers and is shaped like your standard sourdough – perfect for a café style loaf that tastes amazing as toast with your favourite topping.

Describe a typical day on the job.

I normally start work around 5am and begin with looking at our numbers for the day, then go ahead mixing and shaping the doughs, trying to do them in a way that takes into account ferment and cooking times to maximise the oven time. While the breads are baking I usually clean up, feed the levain and soak seeds for the next day, weigh up flours and get things ready for the packers. In between that I’m responding to emails and do ordering etc. Then finished by 2pm to pick up my kids from school and kindergarten.

How has growing up in Raglan shaped you and helped with your career path?

I think growing up in a small community surrounded by entrepreneurs and creative people is bound to have impacted me and given me the confidence to change career path, but I mainly think the support, love and sense of community is what has really shaped me. I grew up with walking down the street and knowing everybody, and everyone having a genuine interest in your well being which is pretty rare, and I feel super grateful to have been blessed with that. I still remember my sisters and I dreading going to Petchell’s with my mum because she would stop and talk with everyone for what seemed like hours. I’m sure every local kid could appreciate, but now I love that and often my kids are pulling at me to go. Whilst Raglan has changed a lot and whilst the community size has grown I still think that it is full of people supporting new ideas and each other, which is probably why it continues to attract so many new people (nothing to do with the surf of course). Having that support behind me I think really gave me the confidence to put myself out there and give it a go. 

Where to from here Lucy?

In the very near future we will be expanding our range and we will be selling our bread throughout New Zealand directly to customers.

Where can locals purchase the products?

You can buy them at the Herbal Dispensary and online via our website.

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