Coffee and Friends opens its kitchen to gluten-free bakery

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By Camryn Ginsberg
Meridian Times staff writer

OKEMOS — After 13 years of landscaping and waking up in physical pain, Polencha Nighswonger, also known as Polly, sprung up with the idea to open her own gluten-free bakery called Sweet Polly’s Pure Breads and Desserts.

“I’ve got to do something else,” said Nighswonger. “I’m a firm believer in going after your passions. I thought what else do I like to do.”

Since baking has always been one of her hobbies, combining a pastime with work seemed like a great decision.

Developing recipes isn’t easy, especially ones that are gluten-free, because wheat, barley and rye cannot be used.  Nighswonger did trial and error for a year in her home until she came up with plenty of delicious bakery items.

“In certain ways I believe the grains that I use are a little bit healthier,” said Nighswonger. “But yet at the same time you really have to be careful.  It ups your calories a bit.”

Thomas Bond, a Michigan State sophomore from Manistee, Mich., has eaten gluten-free his entire life because of a gluten allergy.

“It’s not easy because I have to stay away from all of the college foods: pizza, beer, bread,” said Bond.

A local bakery, like Polly’s Pure Breads and Desserts, would help students like Bond.

“Gluten-free food is expensive and not always accessible,” said Bond.  “I usually get my food from the cafeteria, but I would love for a change of pace and try foods from a local business.”

Fortunately, Nighswonger has recently been able to bake out of Coffee and Friends in Okemos.

“It really has opened the doors for me.  I can now even be a vendor for MSU in their cafeterias or even nursing homes,” said Nighswonger. “This is my stepping stone. I’m so thankful for Coffee and Friends extending their kitchen to me.”

Customers can now enjoy the tasty gluten-free treats of Polly’s Pure Breads and Desserts, like the popular raspberry tartlet, in the cozy environment of Coffee and Friends.

Sweet Polly’s Pure Breads and Desserts

Coffee and Friends
5100 Marsh Road
Okemos, MI 48864

Monday to Thursday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Coffee and Friends

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