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Inga Howe-Geniesse

Otis From Chatham Bread On The Gluten-Free Trend

In Search of a Greener New York is an ongoing Garden Collage series of explorations about sustainability efforts in New York City and beyond– including the people, places, and ideas that are making Manhattan a healthier, happier place to live. In this column, we spotlight individuals who are making New York a “greener” place in an attempt to discover how, exactly, they are doing it. This week, GC spotlights Otis of Chatham Bread, who offers a look into the daily rumblings of the Union Square Farmers Market.

Otis grew up on a vegetable farm and worked at farmers markets from an early age, and now he works at the Chatham Bread stand at the Union Square Farmers Market. His favorite bread is currently whole wheat sourdough– but this changes all the time. This is his perspective on the “gluten” narrative: if the “Gluten-Free” trend makes gluten-free bread more available for people with Celiac Disease, that’s fine– though he’s not sure if it really does anything else for those without the allergy. He has, however, noticed that the gluten-free wave has really taken off, especially in the last 10 years.

Gardeners of NYCInga Howe-Geniesse

Chatham Bread gets lots of pastry-lovers in the morning– people ask for weird things like muffins that are “tall” or bread that is lighter on the outside (versus something a little more browned). There is a butcher’s stall across the way, and Otis once witnessed an altercation between PETA and the flying pigs meat guy he calls a neighbor. That must’ve been a sight, we commented. “It was,” says Otis, “He had a good time with it though.”

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