MILLBURN, NJ - Local bakery owner Michelle Retik of Short Hills provides the community with farm-to-table products for those with food allergies and diseases.

The Squirrel and The Bee at 515 Millburn Ave. in Short Hills is a grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free bakery. They use as many local, organic and non-GMO ingredients as possible. They avoid using any wheat, soy, corn, rice, bean or potato flours. Instead, they replace these products with honey from a local beekeeper and almond flour as their base. Unlike other gluten-free bakeries, they also stay away from sugars, added starches and preservatives.

Another added bonus to their products is that because they use nut flours, their baked goods are loaded with protein and healthy fats. Eating more protein will help their consumer’s energy levels throughout the day without having a sugar rush or caffeine high.

They are catering to people with all different lifestyles, allergies and diseases: Crohn’s Disease, lactose intolerance, Paleo lifestyle, Celiac suffers or just healthy people who are trying to eliminate grains, sugars and dairy from their diets

Retik, who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011, had to change her lifestyle and diet in order to cope with the disease. Her research lead her to the SCD/Paleo diets, which is when she was determined to create baked goods that would follow this strict diet.

Against the doctor’s orders, she cleaned out her kitchen and began experimenting with baked goods. She felt instant relief from her diet change and decided to get back into the kitchen and continue her life-long dream of being a pastry chef.