Oh Baby! Foods Provides Sustainable Business, Nutritious Foods
Gunsaulis also wanted locally sourced ingredients, a measure that supports family farms and is sustainable, as ingredients are fresher and not trucked to large plants scattered across the country.
When she could not find a food that met her standards, Gunsaulis used her master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Arkansas and her business savvy to start Oh Baby! Foods in Fayetteville, Ark.
In addition, a line of refrigerated baby foods is available for home or business delivery, through the Oh Baby! Sweet Cheeks Club. The club is available to customers in Northwest Arkansas and Central Arkansas.
“I’m really excited about The Sweet Cheeks Club that we just launched on June 1. Parents pre-order for the week, choosing from a menu of fresh flavor combinations that change with the local growing season,” Gunsaulis said.
The week of Aug. 2, the Sweet Cheeks delivery foods included a puree of peaches, watermelon and basil.
“That is delicious,” Gunsaulis said, as she taste tests her products.
The Sweet Cheeks delivery club charges $20 per week or $72 per month. Customers can order online at www.ohbabyfoods.com.
Gunsaulis invites adults to make smoothies from the baby food purees, to lose weight and remain healthy themselves.
The Sweet Cheeks menu also included a puree of green beans with apples and parsley; and a puree of yellow squash with white quinoa and white muscadine juice from Post Familie winery in Altus, Ark.
Working mother Kimberly Enderle in Rogers, Ark., subscribes to the Sweet Cheeks club for her son, Holden, who is six months old.
“I wanted to make his food but didn’t have the time and don’t cook. I almost burned down our first apartment cooking a frozen pizza,” Enderle said. “I do want to give my son the best food, which is home made,” she said.
Enter Gunsaulis, Oh Baby! Foods and the Sweet Cheeks delivery service.
“We started Holden on Oh Baby! foods at five months,” Enderle said.
She now pays for the Sweet Cheeks club to deliver enough purees for Holden to have three organic meals each day.
“We love that. I don’t have to run out to buy his food,” Enderle said. “The best thing is, there is so much variety. We are in the fifth or sixth week of Sweet Cheeks and Holden has not had the same thing twice.”
Those who order Sweet Cheeks items have two ways of getting the goods.
“Orders can be picked up at our Fayetteville kitchen or delivered directly to baby for a small charge,” Gunsaulis said.
The Sweet Cheeks meals are refrigerated, rather than frozen like Oh Baby! foods sold in stores.
The refrigeration “allows me to use ingredients that don’t freeze all that well, like melons and cucumbers,” Gunsaulis said.
“And, because I use 75 percent locally-sourced ingredients, versus 100 percent like in our frozen line, it really opens up opportunities to use legumes and complete grains that don’t grow within our 300-mile region,” she said.
The herbs she adds to the baby foods also have a purpose.
“We add mint and parsley to the 6+ month and 8+ month foods for digestion. Rosemary is added to the 10+ month flavor as a transition into adult foods,” Gunsaulis said. “Baby food doesn’t have to be bland. At this age, they’re exploring everything single thing that parents give them. Their other four senses are busy experiencing new things. I say, give their taste buds a treat too.”
Babies who eat Oh Baby! frozen food or Sweet Cheeks refrigerated food also will benefit tomorrow, as the environment is of utmost concern.
“We purchase carbon offsets, compost all food scraps, use local companies, use regionally-grown ingredients, use safe plastics, and host recycling drives,” Gunsaulis said.
The meals delivered or in frozen packages also are plentiful portions for babies.
“Holden is a good eater and we still don’t run out of food,” Enderle said.
The Oh Baby! frozen, organic baby food and the Sweet Cheeks club purees are made from ingredients from farms within 300 miles of the Fayetteville, Ark., kitchen. Though Oh Baby! food is not USDA-certified organic, the farms which grow the produce must meet standards through the USDA organic program or the Good Agricultural Program.
Oh Baby! frozen food is sold in 14 Arkansas stores, including Harps food stores in Northwest Arkansas; Ozark Herb and Spice in Bentonville, Ark.; Pinnacle Station Local Market and Cook’s Natural Foods, both in Rogers, Ark.; at Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, Ark.; and at Argenta Market in North Little Rock, Ark.
Lana F. Flowers is a gifted Arkansas reporter who can handle news about Walmart and retail, movie and book reviews, human interest stories, features and anything else you'd care to mention. She lives in Rogers, Ark., with her husband Jesse, daughter Layla, cats Lottie Boots and Emmy, and dog Fuzzy. Send an email -- firstname.lastname@example.org