“Baking for good”!
This Saturday, October 3rd, the Antietam Valley Farmers Market will feature a completely new seminar in conjunction with the ongoing community table by hosting a Car Care Academy with automotive expert Trisha Hessinger who also operates Toland Farms Wholesome Goods. Ms. Hessinger will instruct two local Girl Scout troops using hands-on activities, role model instruction, and interactive materials designed to educate and give these young women confidence behind the wheel and under the hood. This free interactive class, which will help make one’s vehicle run better, last longer and cost less to operate, will touch on car care basics and maintenance such as vital fluids, the importance of proper tire pressure and much more.
Skates, Skillets, Speed, Soundstages, Stirrups, and Sustenance have one thing in common – Trisha Hessinger has accomplished them all!
Trisha Hessinger, born in Allentown and her Canadian born husband Geoff Whaling reside at Toland Farm, their private equestrian facility in Fleetwood PA from where they began their growing gluten free bakery business.
The roadway that has brought them to Berks County was paved with a desire to educate, a sense of giving back and need to make a difference. These three facts are the thread that is today woven into the brand of Toland Farm Wholesome Goods.
Trisha has been a competitive spirit her whole life, always afraid but never deterred from taking on what others would see as a challenge. Although her family figure skated for exercise, she needed to seek gold. She loved driving fast and needed to race. She loved horses and needed to go as high as they would take her.
Geoff has always served, working behind the scenes to elevate the lives and careers of Canada’s leaders – Prime Ministers and Minsters of External Affairs and Communications. He too served on the staff of the Chairman of Metro Toronto and was responsible for Tourism and Economic Development, helping to build one of the world’s great destinations. He has represented Canada at world events, hosting and working with world leaders, members of royal families, celebrities and athletes.
Trisha and Geoff met years ago. She, one of the leading female auto racers in the country and a senior member of the prestigious PPG Pace Car Team, touring the world promoting C.A.R.T, the Championship Auto Racing Open Wheel Series. He, the CEO of one of Canada’s top Sports Agencies and, the promoter of the Canadian Molson Indy Festival and Races. Fate brought them together at the racetrack; their mutual love of competition show horses cemented the deal.
Since marrying in Africa 24 years ago, their lives continue like a grand safari, in search of and taking on the next great find. Trisha has continued to skate; it’s an every day part of her life. She is considered one of the country’s leading automotive experts and educators, introducing many of the new models to dealers, media and customers and has also been an automotive contributor for INC. Magazine. She hosted the first television series that launched Scripps Network’s DIY – the Do It Yourself Network after hosting a series on HGTV and TNN. The North American spokesperson and automotive educator for Firestone Complete Car Care, Trisha appeared on news programs and at automotive centers across the country, teaching and responding to car care questions and issues. The Girl Scouts even created a Car Care Patch in recognition of this important program.
Today, in addition to being President of Toland Farm LLC and TAH Enterprises, Trisha is the CEO and host of TAH Television production and has produced the pilot of a PBS Series, America’s Historic Homes and Gardens, which continues in development and will tour the historic homes and gardens of the founders and builders of our nation.
Today, Geoff serves as a founding Member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Access Now, which represents thousands of families across America who seeks access to Therapeutic Hemp Oil to treat seizures and neurological disorders. He appears in Legislatures and Congress, alongside families and celebrities at international conventions speaking to the importance of the Industrial Hemp Crop and the thousands of products, like therapeutic hemp oil and highly nutritious seed for human and animal consumption, automotive, building, cosmetic and fashion products that can be produced from this crop. He too speaks to the benefits to American Farmers who are needed to grow this exciting crop that has had a rich history on Pennsylvania and the United States.
Trisha’s love of cooking comes from her family. Trisha, her mother, aunts and grandmother all loved to cook German family recipes. So it was not a big stretch Trisha’s own recipe for an alternative to the sugar packed energy bars to help her push through her rigorous training sessions.
Trisha set a goal to compete in figure skating, adult ranks. Her sights were set on the World Figure Skating Championship. Yet to train at that level she needed to sustain a rigorous regime with something that was jammed packed with complex carbohydrates, all natural energy producing proteins and absolutely no refined sugar. Trisha too realized that a Gluten Free approach was perfect for her “energy cookie” recipe. The results of those efforts were cookies that became part of her daily training regiment, then the delight of some of her skating colleagues and students, then a fund raising item for the Body Zone Figure Skating Club. Soon the couple realized there was a larger opportunity as they had been receiving numerous requests and orders. Toland Farm Wholesome Goods was launched.
To develop and test market local demand for gluten free items, Toland Farms Wholesome Goods participated in the Rodale Institute Spring Plant sale. The products received much acclaim and another vendor suggested the couple consider also participating in the West Reading Farmers Market. Shortly after enrolling in that Market, an inquiry came from Whole Foods Markets for a frozen ready to bake version of the Gluten Free Energy Cookies. That product was developed and is now available in a limited number of Whole Foods Mid-Atlantic Region Philadelphia stores.
The Palamar Foundation, the 501c3 created and named after Trisha’s first horse, is the recipient of a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Toland Farm Wholesome Good items. Its mandate – “Teaching life’s lessons through Sport” has allowed Trisha to support Berks and Lehigh County athletes who pursue their sport to the highest potential.
The Antietam Farmers Market has provided yet another opportunity to reach a discriminating clientele seeking nutritional gluten free products. “In addition to being a wonderful setting, the community has been supportive and given me feedback on how we can improve and develop our line of wholesome goods.”