Assorted treats available at Sweet Freedom Bakery located in Collingwood, NJ (photo: Erin Lafferty).
Are you in the South Jersey area and on the prowl for some vegetarian and vegan options? Look no farther than Haddon Ave where both a Sweet Freedom Bakery shop, and Heart Beet Kitchen are located. The street stretched between both Collingswood, N.J. and Haddon Township, N.J. allowing these two locations to both be on the same street, but in different towns. Luckily, though, they’re only a few minutes apart.
Located on an old-timey downtown street in Collingswood, N.J. is the health-conscious Sweet Freedom Bakery. Aesthetically, this bakery is completely in its own category, and even more so with the treats they provide. On a large chalkboard sign it reads, “everything is free of: gluten, dairy, egg, corn, wheat, soy, peanut, casein, and refined sugar.”
Jen Kremer, manager, describes the bakery as an “allergy free bakery” as the lack of traditional ingredients may suggest. Alongside that she adds, “We don’t allow any animal products in the bakeries at all. We are a certified Kosher, gluten-free and vegan bakery and refuse to use any of the top allergens.”
As I walk into the bakery I am hit by a sudden, overwhelming smell of freshly baked goods, and greeted by the friendly employee behind the display case of treats. The details in the shop, such as the individually written chalk boards and aerial decorations, confirms that this bakery is someone’s pride and joy, and that someone is Allison Lubert.
According to Kremer, Lubert “was the mastermind behind all of our amazing recipes” after suffering from “dietary restrictions and food sensitivities.” As a way to deal with these issues she began experimenting with recipes, and eventually established the menu for Sweet Freedom Bakery. Her recipes even landed her the opportunity to write a cookbook titled, Baking You Happy.
Allison Lubert’s cookbook, Baking You Happy, based off of the same ideals are her line of bakeries (photo: Erin Lafferty).
Not only is Sweet Freedom Bakery free of “top allergens,” but their goodies are delicious. I was fortunate enough to try their brownie, and can honest say it was the best brownie I have ever tasted in my life. Even better, I didn’t feel guilty after eating it because I knew it was vegan and not made with processed ingredients.
Sweet Freedom Bakery has been featured on shows such Cupcake Wars, Unique Sweets, and The Price is Right as well as a variety of online journalistic platforms. It has two other locations aside from Collingswood: Philadelphia, P.a., and Bryn Mawr, P.a.
Down the street, quite literally, in Haddon Township, N.J. is Heart Beet Kitchen, a plant-based restaurant that opened in December of 2015. Ashely Coyne, owner, assures that all food served at the eating establishment is also “100 percent gluten free” and “dairy free.” She adds that “everyone is safe here!”
After leaving her job with the Philadelphia Wings, a local professional lacrosse team, Coyne used her free time to play around with the idea of creating a cafe that fit her “cute, healthy, and gluten-free” standard. She began “mocking up a menu, driving up and down Haddon Ave on a daily basis, and waiting for the perfect store front to open.” Eventually, a location opened, and the journey officially had begun.
“We made money the first day of opening and never looked back,” says Coyne. “In the real restaurant world you usually don’t make money for a couple years, so I assumed the rest of South Jersey was looking for the same cute, little, healthy cafe vibe I was.”
All-in-all, if you’re in the area and looking for some delicious food and goodies, take a look at these two businesses. Not only are their selection of food health-conscious, but the incredible flavors might surprise you.
Special thanks to both Jennifer Kremer and Ashley Coyne for allowing me to interview them and take pictures inside the businesses. Also, thanks to the friendly employees at both locations who made me feel comfortable.