Allergy-friendly bakery a labor of love
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 14, 2013
Starting your own business while having no prior experience and just the intangibles of hard work and dedication may seem like a daunting task, but one local mother and daughter duo are making it work. Diane Smith and Veronica Martins recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their business, Moneta Moments, a small bakery inside the Hayden Station Shops that is dedicated to being allergy-friendly.
“It’s the biggest risk we’ve ever taken,” Martins said. “It was a complete leap of faith. It doesn’t feel real, it’s like were playing.”
The mother-daughter team has always talked about opening up a bakery, but never really put much thought into it until their granddaughter and niece, Summer, was diagnosed with a deadly peanut and nut allergy that they say led her to be left out of a lot of activities. Smith and Martins quit their day jobs to open the specialty shop for people with allergies, so they don’t need to feel like outcasts, while also letting others know that taking away certain ingredients does not affect the flavor. Their entire bakery is "Summer Safe," as they say, or peanut- and nut-free. The bakery also caters its cupcakes and other delectable treats to other allergy sufferers, including dairy, egg, soy and gluten.
The pair had no formal training in baking or decorating, just what they learned from their mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen and from television shows. They started out slow with basic cupcakes from their grandmothers' recipe books that they transformed to be nut-free. Slowly but surely, after putting out a few of the classics like chocolate, vanilla and red velvet, they began to get requests for different flavors, as well as different treats like cookies, cakes and pies. The pair never met a challenge they did not like and decided not to let the business stop at just cupcakes, expanding the menu to include 11 different treats other than cupcakes and more than 35 cupcake flavors.
The company will not say 'no' to anyone or anything and has even baked bread, made dog biscuits and is looking to make a nut-free ice cream. Their treats have slowly crept throughout the country, from Washington, D.C., to Albany, N.Y., and Boston, Mass., with many customers saying they are one of the only allergen-friendly bakeries, and they are by far the most accommodating and tastiest.
“It ended up being a place that’s nurtured our souls; it’s not work, it’s just a love,” Smith said. “The passion is intense, the love is great and the people we’ve met aren’t just customers, they have turned out to be outstanding friends.”
The Moneta Moments name comes from Smith’s maiden name. Smith’s brother had all girls, and the family name was going to die out, and she thought it was too beautiful to allow that to happen. She hopes that with the name, her family legacy will carry on while others share a moment enjoying her family’s desserts.
For more information, or to order the Moneta treats, visit www.monetamoments.com or call 860-298-0202.