When Bridget Reilly discovered she had both a soy and gluten allergy, she had a lot of shopping to do. She first went to one store to get a product or two, then another…and by the end of her trip she returned frustrated and exhausted. One day she had an epiphany, open a one-stop shop with quality products for gluten and dairy-free shopping. Her husband and son readily agreed it was a great idea with the then 9 yr old suggesting that she borrow from her husband’s studio “Bite Productions” and call it Bite Market and a store was born. Having dealt for so long with the fatigue, skin trouble and over all malaise she is a natural to offer encouragement and support to those who ask. She will remind them that as they get better it is like removing a “pallet mask” from your taste-buds and food will start to taste different, even better. She is quick to remind that this is a lifestyle change, not a fad diet and you can’t take a break or you will suffer the consequence. There is no magic bullet or quick fix pill, this is a lifetime commitment. The benefit is a more energetic and healthier you. She even said if they came up with a pill to manage the symptoms she wouldn’t take it because it doesn’t solve the underlying issue, she is allergic to gluten and soy, her body doesn’t like it so no pill can truly fix that.
Carefully selecting only the purest certified gluten free options, she has gathered a terrific selection in her store in old-town Orange. There are beverages, pastas, sauces, cereals and desserts. She also has a selection of locally grown produce from Rays Market. Her foods are mostly form local producers and small independently owned distributors; she admits there are a few items from Canada and Italy but also points out a superior product from New York’s Katz Bakery, she only wants to showcase the best and healthiest options for her shoppers. If you look around you will even see small red dots indicating those products containing soy for those with her same concerns. Little details that make her shop personal and personable, a real joy even if you aren’t gluten sensitive and just want to try some new healthy foods.
Recently she held a brownie challenge asking participants to grade the baked samples and decide which of the top 3 brownie mixes was best. The three tested were, Red Mill, The Really Great Food Company and XO Baking Company, the winner was The Really Great Food Company as rich and moist as well as deceptively close to the full gluten counterpart, a very close second was the XO Baking Company, Red Mill came in last because it was too dry and difficult to cook, the suspicion being that it should have been cooked at 425 and not 350, perhaps they will try again and see if that makes any difference. Either way it is a very inventive step to introducing the great product she offers. Shoppers love this personal touch and the opportunity to try these products as most shops deem them too costly to “waste”. Yes, these products can cost more, have shorter shelf lives and come from factories you have never heard of, but that is the nature of high quality natural foods. Her selection shows care and understanding of her community and the products they are looking for.
Bridget has also participated in Food Challenges for which she proudly displays her awards the most recent being the OC Tastefest where she won with a stunning tequila cocktail. Her natural talents are augmented by frequent web searches and help from friends like Chef Jill who guide her along the way.
Her determination and advocacy have gained her some notoriety and won her a coveted speaking spot at the March 2013 Natural Products show. She will be speaking not only on the foods but on entrepreneurship and the challenges of starting a business.