You've heard me say before I worry about how few gluten free bakers we have these days in Ireland. Yes there's lots of ambient stuff on the shelves of supermarkets but very few great small producers baking amazing product for us gluten freers. I recently came across Wildberry Bakery owned by Susan Robbins and Tom Fehily who's ethos is to create great flavours and textures, while upholding the traditional baking methods Susan was taught as a child. They've a passion is for Irish ingredients and never use preservatives or additives in their products. The last few months has been challenging for them along with many other small Irish businesses however they took the opportunity to get their online shop up and running. Siobhan recently took the time out of her crazy busy schedule to answer a few questions about their business and how things are going in this time of covid.
How did Wildberry Bakery get started and why ?
Our journey as Wildberry Bakery started in 2014. Previously, we ran a cafe, deli & lifestyle shop but struggled to find decent gluten free products to offer our customers. As a consequence, we experimented with gluten free recipes and our customers liked what we did! We were approached by a number of businesses to supply them. Demand outgrew our cafe kitchen capabilities. We closed our cafe & shop, renovated the premise and installed a state of the art bakery.
How long have you been operating ?
Where are you guys located ?
The village of Ballineen in beautiful West Cork.
What kind of products do you sell and what’s your best seller ?
We sell gluten free cakes & cake slices. Christmas cakes & Christmas puddings ( to independents & the ABC concessions in Dunnes Stores) and supply Avoca with scones.
Where can people find your products ?
We supply Avoca, Butlers Chocolate Cafes, Cafe Sol, loads of independent cafes & hotels around the country. We bake for Dunnes Stores where we make their Simply Better Carrot & Walnut cake which is found in the dessert chill cabinet and we've just launched our online shop www.wildberrybakery.com
What do you think makes Wildberry Bakery Unique?
Quality & ingredients. We pride ourselves on making our gluten free just as good as gluten containing products. We do not use additives and preservatives.
I know you have won some awards for your products can you tell us a bit more about that and what that meant to you ?
The awards have been amazing. We've won gold consistently since 2016 at the Irish Free From Awards. At the Irish Quality Food Awards we've won in the Free From Category three times and more excitingly we've been awarded Gold in two different conventional cake categories (not free from categories). Last year we also took the overall award for the best Christmas Product. In 2018 we received The Simply Better Small Producer of the year award.
What changes have you had to make if any due to the Covid-19 restrictions ?
We lost about 80% of our business due to Covid 19.....but this has made us more determined to survive. We've started our online shop, and given great thought in how to help our customers & clients by making changes to our business model. Our staff are back, which is wonderful.
Lots of us are baking from home at the moment, any top tips you’re willing to share ?
Patience....good ingredients & most importantly.....have fun !
Big thanks Siobhan for taking the time to share more with us about their business. Great to hear about staff returning that's fabulous news, can't wait to see how things progress from here !. Be sure to go online and treat yourself to some of the beautiful Wildberry cakes and support this amazing Irish owned business www.wildberrybakery.com.