Farmer's Market Finds - THE LOCAL GRAZE

Farmer's Market Finds - THE LOCAL GRAZE

Welcome back friends! I’d like to introduce you to a mini series that will highlight local businesses that are either part of the Canton Farmers’ Market or show up at Bizarre for our weekend pop-ups. 

This week I’d like to put you on a new-ish local business called The Local Graze (TLG). Being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Chelsea Ward felt called to start her own bakery of gluten free goodies. I was lucky enough to be able to chat with her and hear more of her story…

So go get your Good Mood Juice, and enjoy the read!

Chelsea! So I have had a few of your baked goods and I am absolutely obsessed. You’ve truly mastered gluten free pastries! I’m curious, how did you get the idea for your business? What was your inspiration?

I have always had a passion for food and serving others. From hosting family and friends for  dinner to volunteering to cater various get-togethers, loving people through food has been my mission for as long as I can remember. 

I have been blessed to serve my community as a labor and delivery nurse since 2009, but in 2020, I began to ask God about my passion for food and when I might step fully into this next calling on my life...

It helped open my eyes to the need for gluten-free options that are both safely prepared for Celiac and won’t leave anyone feeling like they’re eating a subpar substitute. 

My diagnosis was a blessing that set me free from a lifetime of uncomfortable symptoms, and early last year, I received total clarification about the direction and mission of my business. In July 2022, I started the long process of obtaining our storefront in the Laurel Canyon Publix shopping center.

Wow, that is such an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. I’d also like to jump in and add that you were the nurse that checked Sabrina in at the hospital when she was going to deliver Jude! I am loving the small town support system here in Canton. Speaking of; life takes a village, but so does starting a business. Who are some of the people that helped you and your family the most in this journey of starting The Local Graze?

Early in the process of figuring out business details, one of my friends, Ashley Grier, asked me  one day, “What are you doing with food?! If you don’t JUST DO IT, you’re never going to do it!” She was such a source of support and encouragement for me. I took her words to heart, and little did I know, the start of her new business would fully launch mine! I created the food for her next event! She and I continue to support each other, and I am very grateful for her.  

When I presented my business idea to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Evan and Tanya,  they were both fully invested in doing whatever they could do to support both my husband, Eric, and I and our desire to pursue a future using our gifts and talents. Eric quit his corporate job in March of 2022 to pursue his passion in woodworking full-time and help get both of our  businesses off the ground. He has been telling me for 18 years I have a future in food, and he jumped in with both feet to make it happen! Our 5 kiddos have been loving having more time with us and are usually with us at our markets! Our oldest 2 children will be joining TLG part time! 

Our Laurel Canyon neighbors, Nina’s Pizza Kitchen and Laurel Canyon Brewing are also family owned local small businesses and have been like big brothers to us. The amount of support from them has been nothing short of incredible. Our end of the shopping center is going to be a force to be reckoned with! We have so many plans for how we can continue to support one another, and I know we’ll all be so successful in this wonderful community! 

Lastly, Eric and I were blessed by a wonderful Canton couple who felt led by God to donate to our business. The donation came in RIGHT on time, as we were searching to find the extra funds needed to finish out our storefront renovation. Not only did they make a generous donation, but they also gifted us with a beautiful photograph of a butterfly they had captured in their garden. They named the art “Sky’s The Limit” and gave us an encouraging note with the scripture, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”- Philippians 4:13. You’ll see this beautiful art in our store. 

That’s amazing. I think it’s incredible how so many of the small businesses in the area are so supportive of one another. It sounds like you had so many people walking alongside you and your family. Such a beautiful testimony to the community here in Canton. 

What would you say is your favorite part of owning a small business? What would you say is the most challenging? 

The Canton Community is like one big family! I really feel like the people here desire to support local small businesses whenever they can. I am so grateful, as are all of my fellow local small business owners. The hardest part has been getting the word out. We utilize local business and community groups, but I still feel like there’s much work to be done to let people know we’re here and ready to serve them!  

That definitely makes sense! I see such a strong theme of the importance of the community here. It’s precious! Getting the word is definitely tough; so how did you first get involved with the Canton Farmers’ Market?

Our friends, Kurtis and Dayana Cagle, started attending the Canton Farmers’ Market last year and suggested we get involved, too! They have been friends of ours for over 10 years. They have a fabulous family and farm (Splendor Oaks). They started a local farmer’s market last year and reached out to me to be a vendor. It pushed me to go ahead and get going and not wait on our storefront to be finished.

I had my first very successful market day in September 2022! The Cagle’s have been some of our #1 fans! We attended the last market of the season and quickly SOLD OUT!!! With the demand for delicious gluten-free food and the amazing support of our community, we knew we’d be attending again this year! 

No way! What a huge encouragement and motivation to keep coming back. What has been your favorite part of the 2023 market season thus far? 

My favorite part of this season is the people. From the other amazing vendors to the market’s loyal customers, nothing beats the level of joy you feel when people are sharing in the excitement of what’s happening in your life and business! 

I am loving this. I’m also gluten free and have thoroughly enjoyed having a gluten free baker in town. Personally, I’m in love with the shortbread cookies. But what is your favorite product and why? 

It’s hard to pick a fave! They are all so good! I would say my cream cheese vanilla bean pound cake. It’s everything you want in a pound cake - rich, buttery, and loaded with vanilla. YUM! It truly is the best comfort food! Whether it’s a naked thick cut slice with a cup of coffee or a decadent almond buttercream topped pound cake bite, my pound cake has been named by many as “the best pound cake I’ve ever had!” One of my favorite frequently received reviews is, “You’d never know it’s gluten free, it’s THAT good!” - everything I do is made from scratch using premium ingredients, and the flavors are out of this world! Even if you don’t require gluten-free, I promise you’ll be hooked after just one bite.

Oh my gosh, I can agree 100% that the cream cheese vanilla bean pound cake is out of this world. When I first tried it I could NOT believe it was gluten free! You’ve gotten the recipes down to a T!!!

How can the Canton Community support you best as your business grows? 

The best way for locals to continue to support my growing business is to continue allowing me to serve them and then spreading the word about how much they love what they’ve tasted! Reviews, shares, tags - Happy customers taking the time to share your business with others is some of the very best marketing you can have! 

Thank you so much for your time today, hearing The Local Graze story and your journey as a baker, friend, wife, mother, has been inspiring and I am amazed by you! 

Bizarre readers, you heard it here first! The Local Graze is one of the yummiest bakeries around town that specializes in gluten-free pastries. Go see them at the Canton Farmers’ Market this weekend between 9-12 and pick up some tasty treats to eat with your Good Mood Juice. 

Learn more about their business at or follow them on instagram.