Getting fresh food on a trip is a challenge. I always crave greens when I come back from a trip, and most of the time I spend the following week just eating salads. Finding fresh food for bébé on-the-go is as hard, if not even harder. Especially when a baby has just started eating solids, many pediatricians advise giving them single ingredient purées in order to introduce them to new tastes gradually and to more quickly and accurately identify possible allergies. However, finding such single ingredient purées on the go can be quite tricky. Sure, the pouches of food sold in supermarkets are nice and convenient, and don’t get me wrong, I usually pack tens of them when we go on a trip. Nevertheless, I just made a discovery that might change my way of packing a bit.
More and more cities in the States are becoming home to fresh baby food companies. San Francisco, a mecca of organic and fresh ingredients, is of course on the list. Since 2010, Fresh Baby Bites has produced and delivered fresh or frozen baby and toddler food jars to busy parents. Traveling parents are also an important market for the company, as the company can deliver to almost anywhere you might be staying. I can’t think of something more convenient when you are on the go. You can order a day before you get to San Francisco so you’ll have fresh food for bébé upon arrival; or anytime during your trip.
I had the chance to talk to Kim Burns, the founder of Fresh Baby Bites and Esa Yonn-Brown, one of the Chefs working for the company. While getting some jars ready, they shared with me some interesting facts about baby food.
Why a fresh baby food company?
Kim Burns: “When my daughter Anna Mae started eating solids, I wanted to make all her meals. I was working at the time and it became very hard to juggle both activities. I was really against giving her prepared baby food, since how could I rely on food that was older than she was? I thought that other parents might have the same problem, so I quit my job and started to make baby food for a living. With the help of another business partner who was a former cook and a pediatrician’s advice, I came up with some recipes. I organized some focus groups with my daughter’s friends to try out the purées. The most successful ones were selected for sale.
So tell us more about the products you offer now.
Kim Burns: “We offer baby food jars for kids from 4 months to 6 years old. We have a 50/50 of mix of purées and toddler bites. Our purées can be ordered either smooth or a little chunkier for older babies. Our bites are very popular these days, especially the meatballs, the muffins and the black bean and kale brownies. Even parents eat them!
What are the challenges of making baby food?
Esa Yonn-Brown: “First, I have to make sure the ingredients are suitable for babies. For instance, I can’t use sesame seeds because they are listed as an allergen. I also have to make things taste good, while using very little salt and sugar. One trick I use is to play with flavors that enhance a food’s natural taste. For example, I like adding thyme and soup stock to beef dishes; adding anise to stone fruit purees; garnishing strawberry with basil or even pineapple with black pepper. My goal is to really to expand the babies’ palate.”
Two other companies you might be interested in checking out in San Francisco:
Foodie Baby: Fresh baby food company, focuses on smooth simple purees.
Big Dipper Baby Food: Baby food making classes.