Voyaging Foods: gluten-free and vegan baked goods with taro flour

I made my editor try a pumpkin loaf and whoopee cake without telling him it was vegan and gluten-free; he usually makes faces when you try to give him "health food." He was surprised on the big reveal; he seemed to genuinely enjoy the whoopee pie, which somehow tastes like a coconut-frosted molasses cake despite there not being any molasses in the ingredients. What it does have: gluten-free coconut flour and Hawaii-grown organic taro flour. I was more a fan of the pumpkin loaf, dense and spiced well. For both of them, though, I can't get over the slight sawdust texture.

Still, I admire Voyaging Food's innovation in using locally-grown taro flour for gluten-free products, an ever-growing market as celiac disease diagnoses increase and perfectly healthy people are opting for gluten-free. 2011 saw headlines touting Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 tennis player in the world, as gluten-free. Even General Mills, whose portfolio contains brands like Cheerios and Pillsbury, is reformulating some of its products to eliminate gluten. So it's fascinating to watch old traditions (Hawaiian taro) meld with such a modern trend.

Voyaging Food's baked goods ($3.95 each) are available at Beach Bum Cafe, Lanikai Juice, and more products, like a pancake and biscuit mix are available online at voyagingfoods.com.