In 2002, Tonya Bernard’s daughter, Cailie was diagnosed with celiac disease after suffering extreme malnutrition and weight loss. Shortly thereafter, Tonya was also diagnosed with celiac disease.
Like many people with celiac disease, Tonya began searching for gluten free bakery foods that tasted more like their gluten equivalent. She quickly became frustrated by what she found and set out to create her own recipes. "I wanted my 3 year old to have the same treats as other children. I was also determined to bake bread that didn’t have to be toasted to taste good and didn’t crumble in your hands."
"By the time Cailie entered Kindergarten, I had succeeded. One thing Cailie and I missed was a buttery soft pretzel. My parents and I were experimenting with different recipe combinations and stumbled upon a product that reminded us of that famous aunt’s soft pretzel. With a few modifications and months of experimenting, we came up with a soft pretzel that we are very enthusiastic about!”
As friends with celiac disease tasted her creations, they asked Tonya if they could buy these foods from her. Encouraged by the response, she started baking in 2008 from her home kitchen and selling to fellow celiacs at various support groups in the Lancaster and Harrisburg, PA region.
As demand increased, she started selling to grocery and health foods stores in the area and eventually outgrew her home kitchen. In the summer of 2010, Tonya started a gluten-free bakery in Newmanstown, PA.
Tonya's soft pretzels in plain and cinnamon sugar have received rave reviews. Even people without celiac disease enjoy these buttery treats.