Sweet Cheeks Baby Food Makes it Local, Organic, and Healthy

It's not terribly unusual for me to come home from a meeting with food. Whether it be Surly cupcakes from the Salty Tart bakery, Fisher Farms bacon from the Birchwood Cafe, or a whole heritage chicken from Jackson Hollow farm, I spend a lot of time talking about food, surrounded by food, and tempted by food. Still, even for me, it felt a bit strange to leave a meeting with my arms full of frozen, organic baby food: sweet potatoes, apples, a carrots/beets and rice combo, and more.

Lori Karis, the energetic entrepreneur behind Sweet Cheeks Baby Food, is on a mission. A professional nanny, Lori has seen the kinds of foods that people feed their kids, and she knows what options traditionally exist for busy families. That's why, after 25 years of making and serving healthy, local, organic foods for the kids she nannied, she finally took their parents' advice and started a company last year.

"My main concern is a healthy, safe baby," Lori says, "and I really believe that vegan is the way to go for kids six to twelve months old." Lori, originally from LaCrosse, WI, is used to making healthy food decisions for other people's babies, but she also understands the importance of taste. "Fresh food tastes great, and there's nothing wrong with exposing kids to something that tastes better [than processed food]," she says, "if we can get them to crave high fructose corn syrup, why can't we get them to crave a roasted potato?"

Lori Karis from Sweet Cheeks Baby foodLori Karis from Sweet Cheeks Baby foodAll Sweet Cheeks Baby Food is hand packed (by Lori herself) with good, organic stuff: grains from Whole Grain Milling Company; squash, potatoes, onions, carrots, and beets from Riverbend Farm; apples from Hoch Orchards, and more. Lori believes in feeding kids the best possible food. In-season vegetables freeze well, and can be defrosted and eaten all year long.

Sweet Cheeks Baby Food comes in many varieties, from single vegetables like squash and apples to combos like sweet potatoes, apples, and millet for older kids. The foods I sampled out of the microwave were uniformly good, and I'd feel great about serving them to my kids (oh, how I wish Sweet Cheeks was around when my kids were little!). Additionally, the company now has a line of organic soups (promoted on their website as "baby friendly adult foods), including herbed pea with quinoa and cauliflower and white bean.

You can find Sweet Cheeks products at the great food co-ops in the Twin Cities, Golden's Deli, the St. Paul Farmers Market, and on the menu at the Birchwood Cafe.

Sweet Cheeks Baby Food also participates in Simple, Good, and Tasty's Local Food Lover program, offering members two free products on all orders over $20.