What happens when Bobby and Caroline, two friends, both musicians, make gluten-free perogies for a lark to beat the blues? Bobby Reed’s Exceptional Perogies that’s what!
In the summer of 2016, Robert Reed Atwood (AKA Bobby Reed) had to take time off work in the construction industry after being in an automobile accident. Convalescing at home, it didn’t take Bobby long to grow bored with his ‘holiday’, so he returned to his Polish roots; making perogies just like his mom Stephanie did in her little restaurant in Cranbrook BC called The Cottage.
At the same time, Caroline was managing a small gluten-free bistro in Cochrane and noticed a gaping hole in the local food industry for great quality gluten-free comfort food – in particular, perogies!
So Caroline (who is also the lead singer and songwriter in Calgary’s favourite party band, The Lovebullies) and Bobby Reed (who blows a mean blues harp) got busy. They developed their top-secret gluten-free perogy dough and a full line of three traditional (bacon, cheddar, and cottage cheese) and three way outta the box (pulled pork, lamb and chorizo) perogy fillings. In April of 2017, the business partners introduced the product into Connolly’s Perogy Bar, a pop-up market in Cochrane intended to test product viability. The little rascally flavour bombs were received so well, they couldn’t make them fast enough, and in no time, Bobby and Caroline found themselves looking for their own commercial kitchen. They settled on The Perogy Ranch, a bucolic property just west of Calgary, high on a hilltop with a sprawling mountain view and built their dedicated gluten-free, perogy pressing paradise. In their first seven months in business, Bobby Reed’s Exceptional Perogies were welcomed into over 30 retail markets in Southern Alberta.
Says Caroline: “We get asked ‘why gluten-free?’ a lot! Folks are geared to equate gluten-free foods with gluggy, unpalatable fally-aparty fare better suited for the slop bucket than human consumption. People are also incredibly particular about their perogies! In our development stage, we conducted two separate professional focus groups and our product scored higher than any product they’ve ever tested. Literally, you CAN’T tell they’re GF. Our secret recipe allows for tender, moist, doughy perogies. Not only do they behave like a wheat perogy, you can actually EAT MORE of them because they sit so lightly in your belly. I challenge the naysayers to give our perogies a chance at in-store demos, and no one is ever disappointed and the product flies off the shelves every time! (We hear ‘these are better than my Bubba’s’ regularly). Yes, they cost a bit more than other brands but they are infinitely more delicious, handmade and our high-quality non-GMO ingredients are sourced ethically and locally whenever possible. They are also much larger than other brands weighing a commanding 46 gm each!”
Bobby and Caroline are looking forward to growing their company, expanding into the restaurant and foodservice industry, and announcing a new vegan arrival soon! They encourage everyone to check out their perogies on SPUD, follow their biz on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and visit the website at www.bobbyreed.ca.
When he’s not pressing and delivering perogies in his porkpie hat and wayfarers, Bobby still works in the construction industry. He plays the blues whenever possible and awaits the day he retires in The Bahamas.
Caroline is also a photographer and freelance writer, gigs and records with her band The Lovebullies and can toss back an entire bag of Kansas City Perogies with ease.