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Culinary Checklist

Be sure to check our list for great tasty culinary gift ideas!

By Jessi Cape, Fri., Dec. 3, 2010

Culinary Checklist
Photo by John Anderson

Local Baby: Spread the Farm-Fresh Love

Saturdays at Downtown Farmers' Market
www.localbabyaustin.com

Giving the gift of farm-fresh food doesn't require hulling your own peas or hunting bison, thanks in part to one of Austin's newest food companies, Local Baby. When the Chronicle's own Yasmine Ander­son and her friend Tabatha Steph­ens decided to combine their culinary backgrounds and deep appreciation of quality ingredients with their desire to promote sustainable farming and nutritious family-friendly grub, Local Baby was born. Consultations with a certified nutritionist help make this up-and-coming local company's lovingly crafted, creative food combinations welcome additions to our freezers and our dinner tables.

Menu items range from simple fruit and vegetable purees to balanced toddler meals, plus several à la carte items that are delicious fridge staples too, like this season's pecan butter. Each item is thoughtfully created with only a handful of ingredients, most from vendors at the Downtown Farmers' Market, where Local Baby sets up shop every Saturday morning. Specializing in providing seasonal produce and other organic, farm-raised ingredients in conveniently portioned individual servings, owners and chefs Anderson and Stephens consider developing palates, tiny fingers, and conscientious parents. A favorite in our home, the chicken meatball toddler meal contains craveworthy chicken meatballs (with veggies and oats snuck in for added nutrition), sweet-potato slices, and baby-bite-sized green beans. Generous portions give plenty of bang for your buck, as even my tiny human's voracious appetite is satisfied with about half a meal, so I can dish up the right amount of yummy and pop the remainder back into the freezer. Top-seller curried butternut and pear has a rich pureed texture with just a hint of seasoning that piques the interest of the picky and particular, and the fresh apple­sauce is delightfully simple and naturally sweet. Local Baby has also recently teamed with Farmhouse Delivery and Green­ling, making eating delicious and nutritious even easier, especially for busy households. Orders can be placed online and picked up at the market, and gift certificates are available in any increment. Do a favor for the local babies in your life, and add Local Baby to your gift list this season.

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