Baby food. Saying the words conjures up thoughts and feelings that can, at best, be described as zzzzzzzz. The mush is typically bland, boring and only so-so for successfully piloting kamikaze spoon missions. But there’s a newborn on the baby-food block that’s whirling locally and sustainably farmed ingredients into surprisingly vibrant yummies for wee foodies. Gather the family and pass out the cigars; Local Baby has arrived.
Tabatha Stephens and Yasmine Anderson are the proud founders of Local Baby. But before diving headfirst into the pint-size puree biz, the two became fast friends while attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in 2004. Since then, they’ve compiled an impressive collective resumé that includes Austin all-stars like ASTI, Lambert’s, Dai Due Supper Club and Cibo. Now back in the kitchen together, Stephens and Anderson are busy focusing their friendship and talents on making delicious baby food for freezers all over Austin.
Packaged in 16 half-ounce portions per container, Local Baby’s freezable meals range from creative toddler fodder like gluten-free chicken meatballs with butternut squash and applesauce, to Simply Beet, a puree of local beets with distilled water and Texas Olive Ranch olive oil—not only a bright visual treat, but also big on the palate.
“It’s about really tasting the vegetables and developing the palate in your child,” says Stephens. “We're both passionate about childhood nutrition—if you start children off on the right foot, then hopefully that will lead to positive eating habits for the rest of their lives.”
Local Baby seems to be helping to develop good eating habits for those beyond the diaper days, as well. As more and more parents head to the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown specifically seeking Local Baby fare, they end up hanging around and doing more of their own shopping. Parents are even encouraged to get creative with Local Baby’s fruit and veggie purees by adding them to sauces, soups—even cocktails.
“Get a little veg impact in there!” Stephens says with a wry smile as Anderson nods along enthusiastically.
Find Local Baby’s freezable meals every Saturday at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown and Wheatsville Co-op. For more information, visit localbabyaustin.com.