Local Interest: Finding Gluten Free products in the Tri-Cities area (VA/TN)

This is for people living in and/or visiting the Tri-Cities area of Virginia and Tennessee. The Shouting Sprout, in Bristol, TN, unfortunately closed at the end of 2009. They did have some good items, but since there wasn’t a huge health food market in the area, many times the products would be out of date.

Luckily, there are two great shops in Johnson City, TN, which, round trip from Abingdon, VA, is, give or take, about 2 hours. We’ve found the prices to be fairly reasonable too – as gluten free goes.

Here is where we go in Johnson City:

Earth Fare

1735 West State of Franklin Road
Johnson City, TN 37604-6573
(423) 232-1011
Get directions

This is a supermarket for the health conscious – but without terribly ridiculous prices. We are on a tight budget, and being gluten free doesn’t help, but we believe the prices here are fair. Take a look at their WONDERFUL food philosophy!!

So you can find a number of gluten free foods, sauces, almond butters (Justin’s is the brand I suggest because they are labeled GF – I believe they do peanut butter as well. Smart Balance PB is also safe), candy bars, gum (Glee Gum), etcetera.

But guess what? gluten frequently hides in DELI MEATS! Yup, it’s a filler (and/or binding agent)! So, take your cooler along and stock up on some tasty deli meats and other deli items that are safe! Plus, they are MSG free as well. This is a good thing for many reasons. Primarily, MSG is NOT good for you. Two, from my own experience and from reading Celiac blogs, folks with Celiac’s Disease and/or gluten intolerance frequently respond badly to MSG.

When you go to the deli section, look specifically for this brand: Applegate Farms. They are organic and anti-biotic free, and delicious! We’ve tried (and love) the Organic Genoa Salami, the Honey & Maple Turkey Breast, and the Uncured Honey Ham. Next time we’ll take the cooler and maybe try some more! If you don’t plan to use it right away, these meats are WELL sealed and have a use OR FREEZE BY date!

Now, this note of caution applies to EVERY deli (not just Earth Fare):

Also, do NOT try any samples that have been put out – even cheeses. You have no idea if the knife used to cut the cheese was used to cut something unsafe right before hand. Want sliced meats but only one large ham (or similiar) is available? Buy your meats, get a meat slicer (I’ve seen them for reasonable prices) and slice your meats at home to avid cross contamination. You don’t know what was cut on it before and you won’t always get an understanding clerk who is willing to wash down (and do it properly) the entire slicer for your order. I’ve watched the deli clerks where I work wash down the slicer and it’s not a fast process.

Earth Fare is also where I was able to find my (Desert Organics) gluten free shampoo. Check out my post about gluten free hair care as to why I went on the hunt for a non-edible GF product, and why you may want to consider switching out your personal care products too!

Natural Foods Market
3211 Peoples Street
Johnson City, TN 37604-4109
(423) 610-1000
Get directions

We get our bread here. It is a brand called Schar, and it is imported from Germany. They carry White Sandwich Bread, Multi-grain, and Hamburger rolls. There may be a fourth item, but I’m not certain. I have not tried the rolls. Of the breads, I prefer the white bread. Although the multi-grain bread IS good on its own, the white bread tastes better with your average sandwich (PB&J;, Grilled Cheese, with deli meats, etc).

They have a wide selection of other gluten free products – even “bread”crumbs which are yummy!

The staff here is wonderful and very friendly!

****Be sure you take your own bags to Earth Fare! Starting Earth Day of 2010, they cut plastic bags!

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