RANDOLPH - Jacquie Stewart has had a dream of opening her own business for a long time. She and her husband, Tony, a pharmacy technician, had been looking to open a business for a while.
"Since I was little my dad always talked to me about opening a coffee shop or breakfast place," she said about her father, Scott Holmberg. "My Mom, KimAnn, and dad are a huge part of my business. My dad actually bakes my muffins."
She went on to say that her grandma, Beryl Holmberg, used to bake quite a bit during the holidays, making hundreds of cookies.
The following gluten-free foods are shown with Jacquie Stewart: melt-away cream cheese cookies, pizza dip and crumb coffee cake.
Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland
"I think that's where (my father) got his interest in cooking and baking," she said.
"We were looking to open a business in Falconer, but I was eight months pregnant and things just weren't lining up to what we needed. I put my dreams on hold and had AJ," Stewart continued. "The owner of The Pickle Barrel in Randolph, a family friend, came to us and asked if we'd be interested in buying her business.
"My husband and I only had a couple of days to decide and kept going back and forth, when he finally said, 'You should do your dream.'"
When the couple took possession of the new business it was an outlet for rustic home decor, some artwork, Amish jams and candies, and many varieties of pickles and marinated food items. They have added a coffee shop with a very extensive list of coffees, frappes, lattes and teas. Other additions are Mrs. Stewart's handmade wreathes, which she will make to order, gluten-free bread and brownie mixes and the works of more artists.
"Many people don't know that there is a coffee shop in here with free Wi-Fi, and that I'm open during breakfast. We serve muffins and cinnamon rolls, but would add a few breakfast dishes if there was an interest," she said. "We also have cookies and biscotti and offer three varieties of soup and rolls for lunch, and we will be adding smoothies and wraps when warmer weather comes."
It is her hope to expand the coffee shop with more seating and a minimal breakfast menu. Although Randolph has other great breakfast spots, The Pickle Barrel is a good location for a more intimate meeting.
"The benefits of having a coffee shop are getting to know the people and what they like to drink," she said. "For non-coffee drinkers we have other specialty drinks such as a rich gourmet hot chocolate and a mousse steamer, which can be fun for kids because it is steamed milk with added syrup, of which we have a large variety. The biggest seller now is chocolate-peppermint steamed milk."
The David Rio Chais are not typical chais, as they can be used in a latte or tea.
"Because my mother and I have Celiac Disease, I understand the need for gluten-free foods and serve them in the coffee shop. There are over 320 diseases that fall back to having a gluten tolerance, and eating gluten-free can help seasonal depression. When I became gluten-free the number of headaches I had was reduced.
"It takes more than two or three days to feel better from eating gluten-free. You really need two to three weeks to feel the benefits. Organic eating is healthy, but not the same as eating gluten-free."
The Pickle Barrel has a penny press machine with four choices of presses representing the Randolph area.
RANDOLPH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
Today is Randolph Country Christmas with many special sales and promotions throughout the downtown and spilling over to Simply Natural Alpaca Gift Shop at 11144 Pope Road. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast, sponsored by the Masons, from 7:30-10:30 a.m. at the fire hall. A cookie house will be held at the United Presbyterian Church from 9:30 a.m. until they are sold out. A craft show is taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the high school.
A fun time is planned for the kids while mom and dad shop. A scavenger hunt will begin at the Randolph Free Library on Jamestown Street. The library will also feature Santa's arrival by carriage at 11 a.m. to hang out with the kids, where he will listen to wishes and be available for pictures with the children until 1 p.m. The businesses will have an activity, such as cookie decorating, or a small gift for the kids. Free carriage rides will be available. Luminaries will be lit at 7 p.m., and the Memory Tree Ceremony will take place.
The Ritz Mints taste like thin mint cookies, and gluten-free crackers can be substituted to use on your holiday cookie tray. Stewart says it wouldn't be Christmas without the presence of the pizza dip. With the help of some college friends the martini eggnog recipe was concocted by combining two recipes.
The Pickle Barrel is located at 133 Main St. in Randolph. The holiday hours are Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.