FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are your products organic?
HomeFree cookies are all natural, and many are additionally certified organic. The large Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Vanilla Mini Cookies are certified 70% organic by the NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food. We make two versions of our popular Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies and Oatmeal Cookies - one that is organic and one that is all natural and gluten free. HomeFree coffee cakes are USDA 95% organic. Most of the ingredients we offer are also certified organic. You can learn more about the value of organic food at www.ota.com/organic.html.
Do you use any genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s)?
No. Additionally, in our support of non-GMO efforts, we have taken the step of getting some of our most popular cookies Non-GMO Verified.
Are your products certified Kosher?
Yes. We are "OK" certified as Kosher Pareve. The pareve means that none of our ingredients, products, or equipment has ever had contact with any dairy product.
What does the Whole Grain Council symbol mean?
Whole Grain Stamps quickly and easily identify real whole grain products. The recommended diet includes three 16 g servings of whole grain each day. Our chocolate chocolate chip cookies contain 7 grams of whole grain, almost ½ a serving. And all of our other products contain at least 8 grams, and therefore proudly bear the whole grain stamp. Imagine, a cookie being a good source of whole grain! And the kids devour them happily.
Is there any special care needed for HomeFree cookies?
Mostly, just enjoy them! Of course cookies are always best when freshest, so you may want to give in to their wholesome goodness right away. But with our special long shelf-life wrap, you can keep them in the cupboard at home or school for up to 6 months after we bake them. They freeze great too for even longer freshness, or for delicious ice cream sandwiches with dairy, soy, or rice ice cream. Of course our delightfully soft, moist oatmeal cookies should be treated like any soft moist baked good especially in the summer or in hot climates – if you are not going to gobble them up soon after purchase, you might want to refrigerate or freeze the extras. If you ever get a HomeFree cookie that isn’t just as it should be, please let us know and we will make sure you end up delighted.
Why do you ship the coffee cakes frozen?
A frozen cake is strong for the shipping process, and arrives to you ready to freeze or to eat. The texture of the cakes is best the first few days after thawing, so by shipping frozen we save that time for you at your home. If the cake thaws in transit, it still can be frozen (though you might want to enjoy some first!). Our cakes are not classified as “perishable,” so it is okay to leave them out. But to enjoy the wonderful texture at its best, we do recommend that you store frozen until the day (or a few hours) before use, and then refrigerated after that. You can serve cool or at room temperature. Want to savor one slice at a time? The cakes slice easily while frozen for easy single serve snacking.
Is there soy protein in your products, and are HomeFree products vegan?
Why both questions together? Because rule of thumb with our products is if it has no soy lecithin, it is certified vegan. The only exception is with the cakes, which are vegan and do have soy lecithin. All of our products are free of egg and dairy and therefore are enjoyed by most vegans, but because the sugar in the chocolate chips of most of our chip cookies is regular sugar rather than vegan sugar, those products are not certified vegan. The only soy ingredient we have in our facility is soy lecithin, which we use in small quantities in some of our baked goods. For those who avoid even soy lecithin, there is none in our large oatmeal cookies, our vanilla mini cookies, and our single serve double chocolate chip mini cookies. (Yes, these are all certified vegan as well!) Soy lecithin at times can contain small amounts of soy protein. Most, but not all, people with soy allergies are able to tolerate small amounts of soy lecithin. Please consult with your physician to determine what makes sense for you.
Are your products free of wheat?
There is no wheat in our ingredients or facility. Our all natural oatmeal cookies and mini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are now wheat free because we make them with specialty wheat-free gluten free oats and then randomly test for traces of gluten. We don't call our organic cookies "wheat free" because regular (non-gluten free) oats in this country can contain traces of wheat.
Are your products gluten free?
Although gluten is not an allergen, HomeFree is about everyone with special dietary needs being able to enjoy treats together.So we have responded to numerous requests by making most of our cookies not only allergy friendly, but gluten free as well. We use great care in our facility to prevent cross-contamination, conduct tests on random batches for gluten traces, and are a certified gluten free facility.
Also, there are many wonderful gluten-free recipes in HomeFree’s “Allergen Free Baking: Baked Treats for All Occasions” cookbook! It is available at the HomeFree website: www.homefreetreats.com, along with allergen sourced/tested baking ingredients.
For more information on differences between celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and wheat allergy, see: http://americanceliac.org/celiac-disease/
Are your products free of corn?
We do not have corn in our facility. There is a small amount of corn starch in our baking powder, and vanilla extract is made with corn based alcohol. There is no baking powder in our oatmeal cookies or mini oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
What flours are in the cookbook recipes?
The recipes call for varied flours. Some recipes use gluten-free flours such as rice and quinoa, some use barley and oats, and some use spelt. Because spelt is in the wheat family and is therefore an allergen for those with true wheat allergies, we do not have it in our facility. However, it can be a wonderful wheat substitute for many of the people who avoid or have sensitivities to wheat. For those who do not have wheat allergies or sensitivities, wheat can be used in the cookbook in place of spelt if desired. If you scroll down in the table of contents , you can see which flours are used in each recipe.
Are there sesame seeds in your products or cookbook recipes?
Our dedicated facility has no sesame seeds. There also are no sunflower seeds. Buckwheat (in our gluten free vanilla mini cookies) is a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel. There are two recipes in the cookbook that call for seeds, but in each case the seeds are optional. The ingredient label of our individually wrapped chocolate chip cookie now reads: organic oleic safflower/sunflower oil. However, we have never used sunflower oil, do not have it in our facility, and do not intend to use it! We put it on the wrap because of past and anticipated shortages of organic safflower oil. If we are ever unable to obtain that oil, we need a way to continue providing our chocolate chip cookies! If that ever happens, we will write it here. Otherwise, the oil will always be safflower.
Do you take any precautions with regard to latex allergies?
Yes. We understand that many people with food allergies may also be allergic to latex. We therefore use only non-latex gloves in our Kitchen.
Do you take any steps beyond not using the major food allergens in your ingredients to minimize risk of cross-contamination?
Yes. As the mother of a child with multiple food allergies, I set up the facility and the entire production process the way I would want done for my child. Please see our Kitchen for the many careful details.
The ingredients of the coffee cake seem so nutritious, and the cake isn't very sweet. So why are the calories and sugar I see on the nutrition panel so high?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a regulation for what it calls "heavy" cakes - cakes that are more than 35% by weight fruit or vegetables. Our coffee cakes are actually more than 40% fruit and fruit juice! Because the cakes are so nutrient dense, the FDA has its own definitions for the serving size. In this case, they require us to define 1/8 of the cake (rather than the 1/16th of the cake I generally serve) as one serving. Actually, you might find yourself wanting to eat that much. If you do, you can feel good about eating cake that has no cholesterol or trans fat, is made from 100% whole grain, and has iron and calcium too.
Why do these cookies cost more than some other cookies?
These unique cookies are expensive to produce due to features of great value! In order to have the highest possible control over the quality and allergy safety of our products we do not do the common, significantly less expensive practice of contracting with “co-packers,” where someone else bakes and packages the products in a kitchen shared with other products. Rather, we have our own dedicated facility for our products only. In this way we can design and supervise every aspect of staff, equipment, ingredients, baking and packaging. Then we make our products from high quality, wholesome ingredients including 100% whole grain flours, natural chocolate and cocoa powder, apple sauce, fruit juice, and non-hydrogenated oils. Further, most of our ingredients are certified organic. We source all of our ingredients with great care, always choosing allergen safety over price. Additionally we conduct allergen testing for peanut, almond, egg, and milk proteins on every batch of ingredients as well as on random batches of finished product. Finally, we bake in small batches, take time for allergy education, and donate regularly to food pantries and to allergy related organizations. All this so you can feel home free with “treats you can trust!”
Do you ship outside the United States?
Three flavors of HomeFree boxed mini cookies (Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and Vanilla) are now available in Canada! Note that Chocolate Chocolate Chip is called Double Chocolate Chip in Canada. If you do not see HomeFree cookies in your local store in Canada, just ask! For questions about other counties, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you offer your products in bulk, such as for schools and other food service?
Absolutely. And to support schools’ and other non-profits’ efforts to support our children, we offer discounted bulk rates to keep the cookies as affordable as possible for all of the children. Some HomeFree cookies meet school nutritional guidelines of the A List and of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, thereby provide a terrific solution for schools: With HomeFree, our children can be included when treats are served, the parents love how wholesome they are, and the kids without allergies love them too.
Does HomeFree have a commitment to the environment?
Absolutely. At HomeFree, in part represented by our logo, we care a great deal about protecting our environment. Many of our products are certified organic, thereby contributing to the health of our water and of our children. Further, our packaging is made from recycled materials, our packing “peanuts” are made from corn starch, and our cookie boxes and brochures additionally are made with wind power. We only use the packaging we need: You will find little extra space in our boxes, and our large cookies are in stay fresh packs rather than the traditional plastic disposable trays. From reusable cups in our staff room, to efficient appliances in our Kitchen , we at HomeFree are careful stewards of our environment.
What is your return policy?
We welcome all feedback, and guarantee our products. If you ever are not completely satisfied, please let us know. We trust though that you will be delighted as you and your family munch into our delicious, healthy cookies!