Little City Kitchen Co. Blog

My stories about local food, fermentation, and formerly organic baby food
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The Scoop on Starting Solids blog series

We have  another round of questions on today’s Scoop on Starting Solids blog series.  Our favorite guest blogger, Dr. Julia Getzelman, founder of GetzWell Pediatrics covers topics today on introducing solids to a “distracted” little one, addressing common baby digestion concerns, and I’ll kick things off answering a question about where I source ingredients that go into baby food from Little City Kitchen Co.

A reminder to readers – submit your baby food-related questions by posting a comment on our Great Baby Food Giveaway blog, and if we feature your question, you win a free pack of baby food from Little City Kitchen Co., just like Kathy, Christine, and Scarlett did this month – congratulations guys!


Question from Christine:  I’d like to learn more about your adventures in securing organic and fresh ingredients for your baby food.

Jill:  I buy as much directly from the farms as possible, always organic.  The majority of fresh fruits and vegetables are bought from local organic farms that sell at the same farmers markets as I do (easy pickup and I like supporting other market vendors).  My favorites are J&M Ibarra, Allard Farms, and Riverdog.

My brown rice comes from Massa Organics, an awesome local rice and wheat company.  I use exclusively the Native Forest brand of coconut milk because they’re the only organic brand that comes in a non-BPA lined can.

If I can’t get it from the farms directly, I go through a local organic distributor called Veritable Vegetable, or for small quantities of things, I hit up places like Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl.


Be forewarned, because next we’re going to talk about a topic that was bound to come up eventually, and one that is near and dear to any new mom’s heart.

Yup, that’s right people, we’re going to talk about poop………

Question from Scarlett:  My 6 month old has been eating solids for about a month. Since she started, she has been very constipated, despite feeding her high fiber foods like prunes and sweet potato. How can I change her diet to make to make it easier on her?

Dr. G: Some babies aren’t ready for starchy foods like sweet potato right away.  You could try leafy greens (kale, collard greens, chard), broccoli, and zucchini–these might help.  If not, beets often “move things along.”

Keep in mind, however, that constipation isn’t just a delay in stooling but hard/dry bowel movements.  So, if she is delayed but happy, that’s OK.  Probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids in the form of high quality fish oil are sometimes necessary to treat true constipation.  Some children do become constipated with the introduction of solid foods despite giving them high quality, whole foods and these are the kiddos for whom I advise using omegas and probiotics.


Question from Kathy L:  I’ve just started my six month old on solids, but she seems to like chewing on the bowl and spoon more than anything else. When do I start worrying about her not getting enough nutrition from breastmilk along and pushing for her to actually “eat” the solid foods?

Dr. G: Each baby is unique and some are ready to eat solids at 4-5 months while others seem to be happy exclusively breast feeding longer.  In some cases kids don’t begin to really “take” to solid foods until closer to 9-10 months or more.  By 1 year most children are getting the bulk of their calories from solid foods.  So, there’s no rush.

A healthy child will let you know when she’s ready.  You can keep trying by introducing different flavors and foods to her, but she may only take a bite or two and then be distracted by the bowl and the spoon for a few more weeks or months.


For any of you Peninsula Kaiser mom’s…come to our baby food cooking demonstration as part of the One Day Wellness Workshop held at Kaiser in Daly City.  It’s this Tuesday from 2-5pm (baby food stuff is from 2:45 – 3:45pm).  No charge, so join us if you can!  Have a great week everyone!

Knowing When to Ask for Help: Food Entrepreneur Blog Series

The last couple of weeks have been challenging to say the least, perhaps even the most difficult I’ve had so far on this venture.  Without boring you to tears with the details, I’ve wrestled with everything from building a food community to securing funding to fears about money and a bazillion other things that keep me up at night.

But the most recent thing I learned is that being an entrepreneur can be extremely lonely.

I find myself trying to achieve the perfect balance between being a determined business owner and a woman that knows she can’t do it all by herself.  This struggle finally ended in a (admittedly much-overdue) full-on meltdown, complete with blubbering and a half a box of tissues. Clearly I’m still working on that balance thing.

At the end of my emotional week, I had drinks with a dear friend who has built up her own thriving business from scratch.  She made a comment about how her husband played a key role in her success.   However, her girlfriends get really upset when she says that…the underlying interpretation probably being that she couldn’t have done it by herself.

An interesting thing happened.  I found myself immediately rising to her defense and making the comment that a good entrepreneur always needs help, and seeking help out is part of being successful.  It took me all of about two seconds to realize my own hypocrisy…as this is what I struggled with all week, and if I’m being honest, probably all year.

I’m not entirely sure what to do with this newfound knowledge, but suffice it to say, I’m more aware of it now and can (hopefully) work towards find better balance.  And avoiding the meltdown thing in the future would be pretty great too.

New Farmers Market Locations and Schedule

We’ve got a lot of things planned in the next couple of months.  Here’s our new Farmers Market schedule:

Lafayette, Thursdays from 4-8pm, beginning Aug 4
Walnut Creek, first Sunday each month, beginning Aug 8
Burlingame, Sundays 9am – 1:30pm (every week except the first Sunday of the month)

The flavors change every week, so stop by and visit if you can!

Upcoming Cooking Demonstrations

If you’re interested in learning about introducing solids and how to make your own organic baby food, consider attending one of our upcoming cooking demonstrations.

Usually these are 1 hour in length, either free or a minimal cost, and you get to take home some of the food we make.  Or, if you’re interested in a hands-on cooking class, complete this quick form and I’ll let you know about our upcoming schedule.

Kaiser Daly City
Tuesday, August 2
2:45 – 3:45pm
View event details here (limited to Kaiser moms)

GetzWell Pediatrics
Tuesday, August 16
6pm – 7:30pm
View event details here

Whole Foods Los Altos
with Petite Village
Wednesday, September 21
6:30 – 7:45pm
More details coming soon!

Hope to see you at the farmers market or one of our cooking demos.  Have a great week everyone!

Beyond Steaming: Flavorful Cooking Methods for Homemade Baby Food

When I sell at the farmers markets, I am always asked: how is baby food actually made? At its very core, homemade baby food is fairly simple; it’s cooked food, pureed or mashed with some liquid, and then fed to baby or frozen in containers for later

Until I started Little City Kitchen Co., I thought, like most parents, that baby food had to be prepared differently than adult food.  Many of today’s baby books tell parents that baby food should be bland (erroneously in my opinion), so therefore steaming veggies is the best method of cooking.  Steaming?  Bleh…  No flavor in that.

As a home chef, I roast, sauté, and caramelize my way through my own recipes, with the goal of extracting as much flavor as I can from each ingredient.  Why couldn’t baby food be the same?    As it turns out, it can be…

Which fats to use in baby foods?

Your little one needs fat in their diet to grow up healthy!  Use healthy fats (like olive oil, butter, and virgin coconut oil) liberally when making your own baby food.  Not only do they make the food taste great, these fats also help with brain development and immunity building. And they’re a key part in some of my favorite cooking methods.

Okay, let’s dig into my favorite cooking methods for the little ones…


Pros: Brings out great flavors.  Cook time: 30-60 minutes average
Directions: For whole veggies: just wrap in aluminum foil “packs”, or for cut-up veggies, toss in a healthy fat such as olive or coconut oil and spread on a pan.  Cook at 350 deg.
Fav things to roast: whole veggies such as sweet potatoes & golden beets, and cut up veggies such as cauliflower, butternut squash, turnip, celery root, and tomatoes.


Pros: Brings out good flavors, quick.  Cook time: 10-15 minutes average
Directions: Cut chunks of fruit or veggies in ½ inch pieces, add some fat such as butter from grass-fed cows or coconut oil, sauté over medium heat to prevent burning and cook until done.
Fav things to sauté: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, carrots, celery, turnips, zucchini,  squash, and mushrooms.  I use all of these fragrant flavors in baby foods along with herbs and spices.

Other Cooking Methods

Steaming:  Preserves the most nutrients, but tends to be blander in flavor than roasting or sauteing.
Fav things to steam: potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, butternut squash (pretty much anything you can roast, you can steam quicker but without as much flavor)

Boiling: Can diminish the flavor if you don’t use the liquid, cook time 5-15 minutes for veggies, nearly an hour for legumes.
Fav things to boil: lentils and beans, frozen peas, carrots and potatoes

Microwaving: Most destructive method, but the fastest and occasionally good in a pinch
Best things to microwave: cut up veggies, whole sweet or white potatoes
Hint: only use microwave at 50% power to cook food more gently and keep more nutrients.

Remember, babies love flavor in their food, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different cooking methods as you puree and mash through different recipes.  Also check out our review of baby food storage containers and adding spices to your baby food.

Entrepreneurship is a State of Mind: Food Entrepreneur Blog Series

I’ve said it before: starting a new business is not for the faint of heart.  It takes things like an exorbitant amount of self-confidence, a lot of persistence, endless creativity, a mind open to possibilities, and the kicker for me…constantly reminding yourself that what you want to accomplish is entirely possible.

While I believe that entrepreneurship is a state of mind, sometimes it can be slightly schizophrenic. There are days when I’m flying high, walking down the street knowing that everything is going to work out.  And then there are the inevitable days that I wonder how the heck am I going to survive this?  Luckily there are more of the former than the latter…

It’s not surprising that more opportunities present themselves when I’m in a good space.  When you’re down in the dumps, it’s hard to focus on anything else but yourself…which, not surprisingly, tends to be counter-productive in the moving forward department.

Like most new business owners, when I first pictured my new entrepreneurial life, I focused on all the wonderful and fun things.  I envision is being surrounded by happy mommies feeding their babies my food, and then that raving all about it to the person next to them!  I had a flash of that at the Birth & Baby Fair this year.  That image keeps me going while I’m doing dishes and clean-up at 10pm!

Birth & Baby Fair – Take 2

The second installment of the Birth & Baby Fair was a raving success.  During the morning rush, it was common to see 4-5 strollers surrounding the Little City Kitchen Co. booth, and lots of happy babies trying our yummy food.  Not surprisingly, parents were excited about the International spin on baby food flavors, and the fact that it’s frozen vs. shelf-stable giving their kiddos more nutrients.

The cooking demo was also fantastic…and thank goodness, without any of the drama of last year!  We covered a range of topics including when to start introducing solids, what foods to start with (hint: veggies, meat, and other nutrient-dense foods…not rice cereal!!), how to make your own baby food and much more.  Special thanks to my booth superstars Angie N., Jill B. and Jill P. for helping out during the day, and to Dr. Julia Getzelman for her perspective on introducing solids at the demo.

New Farmers Markets

Coming soon to an East Bay market near you!  Beginning July 28, find us at the Lafayette farmers market on Thursday evenings between 4-8pm, and starting August 7, the Walnut Creek farmers market on the first Sunday of every month (the remaining three Sundays I’ll continue to be in Burlingame).

Overall, it’s been a good couple of weeks.  Enjoyed some much needed rest over the holiday weekend and hope you did as well.  Now it’s back to work and full steam ahead!!