A fusion of creativity and good food has led Susan Robbins Fehily and Tom Fehily on a journey to what is now an award-winning gluten-free bakery. Situated in the beautiful village of Ballineen in West Cork, Wildberry Bakery is a culmination of circumstances, hard work and an understanding of their customers’ needs.

The story began when they opened a café behind their village shop, which had been in Tom’s family since 1922. Although neither Susan or Tom had a background in food, both had a keen interest and appreciation for baking. Susan studied ceramic design before becoming an art teacher and Tom studied accounting.


As their business began to grow, they found that it was impossible to find decent gluten-free products. Determined to offer quality to their customers, they began making their own. “From the start, we could see there was a demand for high quality gluten-free cakes that could also be enjoyed by anyone,” says Susan.

Word began to spread about their gorgeous bakes. “After some time, other cafés and shops asked us to supply them so we decided to close the shop and convert the premises to what is now Wildberry Bakery.”

According to Susan, there are strong links between ceramic making and baking. “When I was in college, I used to start my day rolling porcelain and now I am rolling pastry,” she says. “If you are creative, it comes out in you, it’s one of those things you can’t get away from.”

When it comes to sourcing ingredients, quality continues to be at the forefront for Susan and Tom — it’s in every aspect of their business. “Without excellent ingredients, you can’t make excellent products,” she says. “We use Irish creamery butter, milk and free-range eggs. Our jam is from a local farm, our cheese is from Donegal and of course, our apples are also Irish.”

Wildberry Bakery, Ballineen, Co Cork. \ Donal O' Leary

However, Susan also adds that quality extends beyond ingredients. “Ensuring you have good staff who enjoy their work and put love into each cake is really important for us.”

Considering the rise of the gluten-free market, Susan says that it has become a lifestyle choice for many people and not just those with a gluten intolerance. “Something we are very careful and proud of is that our cakes can be eaten by anyone in the family and you don’t have to be coeliac to enjoy them”, says Susan. “Our ethos has always been to have something that tastes really good and our products just happen to be gluten-free”.

Wildberry Bakery began their partnership with Simply Better in 2018 and launched their signature Carrot and Walnut Cake the following year. This year, at the Irish Quality Food and Drinks awards, that cake was crowned Product of the Year. Susan says that this is the recognition they wanted to spread the word that gluten-free cakes are just as good. “It really was a full circle moment for us, apparently the judges didn’t even know it was a gluten-free cake until they had made their choice.”

Kitchen table

As a small producer, Susan says the support the Simply Better team has given them is extraordinary. “We’ve often had the Simply Better team sit around our kitchen table and go through products and ideas with us”, she says. “They held our hand when it came to stuff like packaging and barcodes, the behind-the-scenes technical stuff you wouldn’t even think of. They are also always at the end of a phone call waiting to help”

This Christmas, Susan and Tom are most excited for their customers to try the new Simply Better Apple and Blackberry Crumble. “The smell in the bakery when the apples are steaming is so fresh and the blackberry turns the base into such a vibrant colour,” says Susan. “We’re looking forward to Simply Better customers enjoying those smells and tastes in their own kitchen.”

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