Adria Kinnier of Bethesda has always fed her kids “grown-up food” — when they were babies she often would puree whatever she and her husband, Alex, were eating.
They got used to vegetables, herbs and spices, and when at 18 months her son Carter ate all his brussels sprouts and ignored the pizza on his plate, she knew she was onto something.
So she started Baby SLOP with this idea in mind, to help other parents fighting with their children to get them to eat vegetables at the dinner table. SLOP stands for seasonal, local, organic puree.
“If there were more adult flavors available in baby food, that would just be nonexistent for other parents,” Kinnier said.
She also was wary of store-bought baby food that was older than her child.
The company launched in September, delivering products for children 6 to 12 months. Kinnier buys, cooks, packages and delivers the fresh baby food herself, working out of a commercial kitchen in Bethesda.
She offers purees such as red lentils with purple kale, garlic and fire-free curry, and rutabaga with caramelized shallots, all organic. Beets are one vegetable she’s found surprisingly popular among babies. She suspects they like the beets’ vibrant colors.
Many parents, she finds, are excited by the idea of feeding their young children fresh organic produce, but enthusiasm doesn’t necessarily translate into time and energy to make baby food at home.
“I think a lot of parents like the convenience of getting the freshest local food to their babies,” Kinnier said. She delivers all over the Washington metropolitan area, mostly inside the Capital Beltway, and she’s found a lot of parents like having the SLOP delivered to their downtown office buildings.
This winter could pose a challenge, when there are fewer seasonal vegetables available. She might order vegetables from small organic growers in California, where her family lived before moving to Bethesda in 2012.
But Kinnier plans to use what local farms can grow and store and get creative with mixing in different spices and grains for variety.
“I think there’s something very human about eating what’s available when it’s available,” she said.
She gets most of her produce from three organic farms on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Pennsylvania that visit the Bethesda farmers market. So far she has stuck to vegetables, as there are fewer local organic fruit growers in the area.
Baby SLOP also delivers its puree in reusable BPA-free jars. It’s available in two types — purees for 6- to 8-month-old children and chewier blends for 8- to 12-month-olds.
Twice-a-week deliveries include three 4-ounce jars of purees, six total, for $30; for the blends, customers receive six jars, 12 total, at $60 per week.
For every jar of baby food the company sells, it donates a jar to a local food bank to mitigate food insecurity and help more babies in the area access healthful food.
Kinnier finds her customers “like slowing down the food process,” she said. “I think it gives them a sense of comfort” to know where the food is coming from.
“It’s really great to see how the D.C. area is moving toward slower food,” Kinnier said. “I find it very exciting to see that wave of people appreciating the local farms who are working hard to grow things here.”