Today at the Upper Haight Farmer's Market, the lady selling a plethora of nuts, flavored, salted etc, looked at me like I was nuts for asking about whether hers nuts possibly were exposed to gluten. As I asked her a few more questions about how the nuts are processed and packaged, she seemed annoyed by me and finally walked away suddenly to help another customer. She clearly thought I was NUTS and didn't want to waist more time with my silly questions.
I walked away without buying anything.
This situation may be due to both our ignorance. I certainly don't know a lot about how nuts are handled, processed and packaged. I have heard that I do need to be careful about that, because sometimes nuts are processed in the same facilities as wheat or other gluten. While I was told raw nuts usually aren't cause for concern, one can never be too careful. The great thing about Farmer's Markets, is you can speak to the employees or owners. You don't always get an immediate answer. At the Inner Sunset Farmer's Market, I asked one of the guys at the nut stand about their nuts, and he didn't know. He said he could check with his boss when she got back from vacation, and I told him I would come back in one of the following weeks.
This guy did mention that at least one of their nut products was seasoned with a gluten ingredient, and I would guess this would be the case for the nut lady at Upper Haight. However, as I walked away from her stand, I found a fruit stand that also sold raw almonds. I asked the cashier if the nuts could have been exposed to gluten. She wasn't sure, so she asked her boss, and he said they went straight from the tree, into the bags, and there was no gluten in the facility. Eureka! I bought a 5 pound bad for $20.
As an end note, some people may think I am NUTS for nit picking over the details about how the food I eat is processed. Well, they won't get my business. My health is not a trivial manner. If these people knew how bad I feel for months if I am exposed to a tiny bit of gluten, maybe they would get it. I do need to make myself more aware about how the foods I want to buy are processed. I welcome any comments - if anyone knows how nuts are generally processed, both for raw nuts and salted nuts. I'm specifically curious about Trader Joe's - one of these days I am going to do research on their policies and procedures and write a blog about that.