It all began with a simple roadside farmstand in 1972. Bob and Lynn Allen, owners of Meredith’s Bread, began by selling local produce, prepared foods, and a handful of homemade breads. Fifteen years later, when the original owner of the Meredith’s Bread brand was selling the business, they bought the name and some equipment and took over where she left off, selling a small variety of muffins and breads. Committed to maintaining the business that had been established, but eager to make a name for themselves in a competitive market, Bob and Lynn began to grow their product line, creating delicious, preservative-free fruit pies, cakes, cookies, and more, all from scratch.
Using mostly regional flours and grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, and honey, they are committed to supporting the local economy and maintaining quality and flavor by using honest, wholesome ingredients.
Thirty years later, Meredith’s now offers more than 350 baked goods, many of which are gluten-free, sugar-free, or dairy-free. Using mostly regional flours and grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy, eggs, and honey, they are committed to supporting the local economy and maintaining quality and flavor by using honest, wholesome ingredients.
The secret to their success lies in that original farmstand experience of selling directly to their dedicated customers. Instead of going to retail markets and selling wholesale, Meredith’s has maintained the practice of getting to know their customers and interacting with them face-to-face.
At the height of farmers market season, they sell their made-in-the-Hudson-Valley baked goods in locations from Albany to New York City. Customers who are eager for something as simple as a fresh loaf of homemade bread, or just a sweet roll to go along with their morning coffee on their way to work, will stop at one of the many convenient locations throughout Manhattan, from East Harlem all the way down to Battery Park.
Using the farmstand business model has not only allowed Meredith’s to thrive in the niche market they have created, but has also allowed them to understand the needs of their customers and respond directly to them.
When something they bake is amazing, they hear about it. And when it’s not, they hear about that, too. They have listened to the requests for gluten-free options, and responded with utmost enthusiasm by offering not just a few gluten-free items, but a whole line of options, from breads to desserts to pastries, for their loyal customers. There’s a very personal reason why the Allens care so much: both Lynn and daughter Amanda have been diagnosed with celiac disease. They know what a difference eating right can make. To ensure the very best and safest gluten-free goodies, they’ve created a second bakery—a dedicated gluten-free facility with its own staff, equipment, and certified gluten-free ingredients. Gluten does not go near any of Meredith’s gluten-free products.
It’s made possible by a meticulous approach to the inspired chemistry that is fine baking. “It takes many gluten-free ingredients to recreate the structure of gluten,” Lynn told Down to Earth Markets in 2016. “And everyone here is passionate about finding the right mix.” Daughter Amanda, now a partner, is one of the primary recipe developers and the force behind the Kingston shop. “We have become a valuable and trusted resource for local gluten-free customers,” she says. “We also work with Enzo’s Restaurant in Kingston, providing them with gluten-free dinner rolls, burger buns, and pizza crusts for their rapidly growing gluten-free customer base.”
Balance that with the company’s dedication to fresh and local and you begin to understand why this bakery has taken New York City foodies by storm. Reviewers on Yelp share tips on the best time to show up at their favorite farmers markets to score some no-sugar blueberry tarts, carrot pineapple muffins, or a loaf of organic multigrain spelt bread.
Those who can’t eat gluten will find not just four or five choices, but a cornucopia of goods.
Carefully chosen staff work hard to please these repeat customers at up to 60 markets a week in peak season. In keeping with Meredith’s commitment to local communities, leftover baked goods are donated to local churches, food pantries, and shelters at the end of the day. Lucky for us in the Hudson Valley, we can stop by Meredith’s on Route 28 in Kingston to pick up some fresh-baked goodies to bring home, a slice of quiche for the road, and even a cup of coffee. Don’t forget to grab some all-natural doggie treats on your way out.
415 Route 28, Kingston
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