Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe, located in Auburn, Maine creates products “greater than gluten-free.” The owner, Mark Tripp offers a different look at the food our society likes to eat on a daily basis that may not be the healthiest options. He transforms foods like bagels, cupcakes, cake, chili, pies, and donuts into food that our bodies can process and breakdown easier just by choosing top notch and unlikely ingredients. We spent a day with Mark learning about his journey to better health and wellbeing. He offered us an inside look at his day behind the counter baking and making tasty treats suitable for even the sweetest tooth. From the unsuspecting eye Mark’s cupcakes and treats look decadent, to say the least, but what we found out is that they are made with the simplest, whole ingredients- from sweeteners like honey and bananas to healthy fats like avocado and coconut.
Our community is beyond fortunate to have someone so dedicated to healthy eating and work to create an opportunity for others to experience a healthy lifestyle, great food, and eat in such an inclusive environment (allergen friendly). The Fashion Cookbook is honored to be able to share the Tripp’s story and encourage you to visit them! Remember the food we eat is not only fuel for our bodies, but it also has such an incredible impact on our whole wellbeing- mind and spirit.
What drove you to open a cafe with mainly gluten and dairy free products?
The desire to open a cafe was a multi-headed dragon. First off I had seen such great success with a grain free lifestyle and wholeheartedly believed in it and the positive changes that I wanted to share. I always enjoyed cooking for myself and with the encouragement from a close friend I started making my grain free products for other people, and selling them privately out of our house. I enjoyed doing it and it covered the cost of my own foods as an added benefit. Once I saw the demand for such a clean product I thought just maybe this could be an actual business. Although a grain free lifestyle was rather popular on the West Coast, I knew we were behind the curve here on the East Coast. I also knew going forward I would need to expand beyond my own home kitchen, get licensed, and insured. I found a shared community kitchen in an old elementary school in Peru, it was small, inefficient but it was just what we needed to be “legit”.
From there we set off to farmers markets selling our grain free muffins, “granola”, and cookies. During this venture, we saw there was a gap in our local food network for humanely, organically raised meats. We added heritage bred swine, free range chickens, eggs, bees, and maple syrup to our small line-up. We had success in the farmers market scene and at one point we sold wholesale to 17 stores in Maine. It was through the farmers market that we had the chance to open a brick and motor cafe. Although about 5 years ahead of schedule the opportunity couldn’t be passed up. Knowing the grain free market was fairly limited and unknown here in Maine, we thought gluten free would be most appropriate. Being a dedicated gluten free facility we are still able to produce our grain free items while providing a completely gluten free friendly environment.
Once up and running it was quickly noticed gluten and dairy allergies seem to go hand in hand for most, being fluid we opted to incorporate dairy free into most of our products as well. It didn’t stop there, though, we’ve no pushed on further and have many allergen friendly products that are gluten, dairy, soy, egg, yeast free and vegan option as well.
Is gluten free for everybody?
Gluten free isn’t for everyone, but it should be. I think it’s a combination of gluten and our current big AG practices that are causing so many diseases and sicknesses in today’s world.
Would you consider going gluten free a diet or a lifestyle change? Why?
I see it as a lifestyle, and for myself, I feel people shouldn’t stop at gluten free. There are even more benefits to being grain free along with healthy alternatives. Just because something may be labeled as gluten free doesn’t mean its “good for you”. If you don’t change your lifestyle and just go on a gluten-free “diet” it is going to fail eventually, and when it does you’re going to feel worse than before you started.
What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding gluten as an allergen?
I feel that not only does everyone have a gluten allergy but an allergy to grains in general. Some people may handle gluten or grains better than others, but it’s my true belief that if you get rid of gluten and or grains for 30 days you will see a noticeable difference if your reintroduce. While eating clean, whole, and grain free you reduce inflammation throughout your body and in turn, you have a strong healthy immune system ready to ward off any unwanted guests. Once I changed my lifestyle to grain free I saw a significant improvement in my health.
What can you tell us about you (your products) that makes you stand out?
The difference between our products and most any other gluten free product you find is the quality of ingredients. We don’t stop at gluten-free, we use high-quality ingredients but most importantly its what we don’t use like soy, high fructose corn syrup, canola/vegetable oils, fillers, hydrogenated oils, white sugars, imitation extracts, etc. We use healthy fats such as organic coconut oil, organic butter, olive oils, pure extracts, natural sweeteners, high quality “flours, and starches”. To go along with our products we find it equally important to be providing customer service and atmosphere that matches the high-quality products.
What is your 5-year plan, or goals for the future?
My 5-year goal is to have a larger more efficient facility to expand the Tripp’s brand. Larger seating area for those wishing to stay and enjoy the allergen friendly environment. An observation area to see our homebrew Kombucha in production. Have our meals-to-go program up and running full speed, offering good nutritionally sound meals for those on the run. To have our brand established in Maine at a minimum, hopefully, New England. Stretch our reach through wholesale clients and who knows, we aren’t ruling out the possibility of franchising.
We had the opportunity to be the first ones to try Tripp’s newest debut: the raw chocolate brownie! Completely raw and vegan, their brownie was by far one the best desserts we’ve ever tried. It was so gooey and delicious- you would never know it was a healthier option.
We loved Tripp’s Farmhouse café so much that we want to share the experience with you!! We are giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader.
1. Must follow Tripp’s Facebook page
2. Must follow The Fashion Cookbook’s Facebook page
3. Leave us a comment telling us what menu item you are most excited to try
Good luck! Winner will be selected by April 5th at noon.
Photography by Centered Images
Thank you again Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe for collaborating with us!