I guess, for me, this all starts with Asher.
I have been taking care of children directly (in various ways) for over 30 years, but in the last 5 years, I’ve been much more involved in the nutritional aspect of daily meals via my catering company, LMN Hospitality. Through working with nutritionists (as we were tasked with meeting daily nutritional needs for top professional athletes), I became much more aware of the foods we consume and what, exactly, goes into them. I truly believe that food is daily medicine we put into our bodies. And, if you ask top athletes how they do it, they don’t credit the workouts or the strength – they credit the food with which they fuel their bodies.
When Asher came and I was unable to breastfeed for as long as I’d hoped, I started supplementing with formula only to quickly discover what was in the formula I was feeding my baby – and I wasn’t happy.
After finding a solution to my personal formula issue, I started looking at the foods my son would soon start eating. It was then I started really asking questions… “why are all these preservatives in the food?”, “why does everything have to have sugar – and, if not sugar, corn and maple syrup?”, “why doesn’t baby food ever expire?”… Those questions led me down a deep rabbit hole of more questions like “why do we have a diabetes and obesity epidemic among children in the US?”… I could go on forever. But, let’s face it – I am not a scientist, nor a medical doctor – and those questions were not going to be answered by me. Instead, I chose to do something about it.
While I realize that the vast majority of us survived on the shelf-stable baby foods, I also live by the adage that “when we know better, we do better” – and we know better!
I gathered up a group of chefs that coincidentally all have children in their lives they love and care about and every one of them was excited about this project – “let’s change the baby food game!”. We set out with a list of goals:
- We wanted to educate parents and caretakers that food doesn’t have to be sugary and sweet for kids to like it.
Gosh, if I could tell you the amount of times I personally have “covered up” a bite of green beans with applesauce just because I thought the baby spitting it out meant they didn’t like it, you’d laugh and question why I am the person you’re trusting to spearhead this project — but I didn’t know any better!
We now know that it takes a baby 15-20 times of being exposed to a new food before deciding if they like it – it could be the texture, the flavor, their mood, etc – but 20 TRIES before we have any idea if they prefer a food! It has nothing to do with disliking it because it’s not sweet – that is all in our heads, and it’s time to change that thinking.
- We wanted to make food we want to eat. While researching this project, we tasted so many of the baby foods and we just didn’t understand why it was all so bland! We checked with pediatricians, pediatric nutritionists, pediatric dentists, and they all agreed – baby food doesn’t have to be bland. We traveled to different countries and tested the same – no bland baby food. So, we incorporated spices that will not only flavor the food, but can also have health benefits, as well.
- We wanted to use farm fresh ingredients that we love. We thought “gosh, how cool would it be to set up shop at a farmer’s market directly next to the farm where our ingredients came from??”, and that’s just what we’ve done. We’ve been approved to join multiple farmer’s markets in the Houston area and, guess where we’ll be – right beside our farmer partners, beaming with pride at the products we created with their hard work.
All this to say, my WHY started with Asher… But Tiny Farmer’s WHY is for all the kids in our lives – and yours. We can do better, and we want to start now.
Kelly Laudadio, Chief-Executive-Mama of Tiny Farmer;
more importantly known as, Asher’s Mom
***NONE of what I’m saying is meant to be medical advice. Every baby is so different. Please always check with your pediatrician if you have any questions about your baby’s health or nutritional needs.***