Fresh Start

There’s a problem with baby food, and the solution is growing in your own back yard.

By Katie Walker

Photography by John Lee


making organic baby foodIt’s late summer in the kitchen, and dinner is almost ready. A delicious tomato-and-basil salad tossed with a little balsamic vinegar for extra flavor, organic chicken fresh off the grill, and on the side, some roasted corn and new potatoes drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh oregano. A fruit tart bakes in the oven. When the family sits down to eat, passing plates and bowls that smell like summer, a jar of carrots is popped open for the baby. The ingredients: carrots, water, tuna oil, choline bitartrate, gelatin, and alpha tocopheryl acetate.

What’s wrong with this picture? Good nutrition is vital for babies, so why aren’t they fed the same fresh food as the rest of the family? Why hasn’t baby food evolved along with the rest of the American diet? Read a baby-food label, and you may just leave that overpriced aisle and never return.

The good news is that there’s a movement afoot to bring healthy, nutritious, and organic food to the younger set. Parents are shunning jars and packages and replacing them with fresh food made with the help of food processors and blenders. Leading them is noted chef, Food Network celebrity, and cookbook author Tyler Florence. In his new book, Start Fresh, he says, “As parents of this new generation, we have a leg up on what our parents knew about health, nutrition, and obesity. It’s time to stop making excuses about what we put on our tables and in our children’s bodies and recognize that companies that produce cheap foods are not doing you any favors.”

The family described above? They could throw some of the corn, potatoes, and tomato into a food processor, and the baby would eat straight from the garden, with very little extra work. It’s baby food that even parents will want to try—because it’s fresh, healthy, and delicious. Florence encourages parents to make their own food because “the moment children move away from breast the time you can make a gigantic difference in what they consider delicious, the way they eat, and the nutrients they put in their bodies. And all you have to do is cook for them.”