Mompreneur, Caroline Freedman, is the CEO and Co-Founder of NurturMe, a company she founded after recognizing a need for a more versatile, nutrient-rich and eco-friendly alternative to the traditional baby foods on the market. While pregnant with her first child, Freedman started researching the how, what and when for feeding babies and realized that little innovation had taken place in the baby food industry since she was a little girl.
“Poor-tasting food in bulky, heavy, wasteful jars was still the norm,” says Freedman. “I wanted something that was healthier for my baby, more versatile and convenient for busy parents, and kinder to the environment.”
She found that by drum-drying and freeze-drying organic fruits and vegetables, they were able to retain their freshness, flavor and nutrients better than cooked foods, and also added element of convenience for busy parents. A mom herself, Caroline wanted to create a truly versatile line of healthy and sustainable food that would make it easy for busy, modern parents to ensure their little ones are getting the nutrients they need – from infants to toddlers, and everywhere in between.
Stonyfield Mom Chandra sat down to ask Caroline a few questions about her company, her daughters and what organic means to her!
Stonyfield Chandra: Tell me about NurturMe and how it’s different from other baby foods on the market?
Caroline Freedman: Our brand is all about innovation, so we’re entirely different from other baby foods on the market. Our NurturMeals line is a new kind of baby food – dried, organic fruits, veggies and supergrains that you mix with liquid to create a puree. Nursing moms can even use their breastmilk to prepare the foods. The dried foods are extra nutritious, super versatile, and more sustainably-packaged than jars or squeeze tubes. We also, by the way, now have a line of super-nutritious toddler snacks, called Yum-a-Roo’s – what makes them great is that they include both fruits AND veggies in every bag!
SC: Can you share with us the NurturMe story? Why and how did you start the company?
CF: I had the idea for creating a new & different type of baby food when I was pregnant with my first child and uninspired by the offerings in the baby food aisle. I thought there had to be a better option than bland tasting pureed food in bulky jars. The idea of dried foods had numerous benefits – more nutritious, more portable and lightweight, moms could mix with breast milk, and on and on. I was fortunate to have my “brainwave” in Austin, Texas, of all places, where the entrepreneurial community is vibrant and helped my partner and I take this idea and turn it into a reality.Harmful pesticides and synthetic materials can have a true impact on little, growing bodies.
SC: Why was it important to you to produce an organic product?
CF: Organic foods are particularly beneficial for infants and toddlers because of all the growth and development they experience at an early age. Harmful pesticides and synthetic materials can have a true impact on their little, growing bodies. In light of this, we felt it was important that the foods we created for children be organic, clean, and safe. Only the best!
SC: What are your daughters’ favorite products/flavors?
CF: Ever since launching organic quinoa earlier this year, it quickly emerged as a fan favorite – and is also one of ours. We use it at home in a number of ways – when my second daughter was an infant, it was the first infant cereal she ever ate. As she grew older, we would mix it into other pureed foods (and of course, with other NurturMe flavors). And now, we use it as a mix in – an added ingredient – in “table foods” that both girls are now eating, like pastas and yogurt.
SC: Do you have any tips for busy moms?
CF: Where to begin! I guess my #1 tip is to be kind to yourself, not to put too much pressure on yourself to be all things to all people – at home, at work, wherever. I think personal time – exercise, rest, time with friends – is important to carve out, so that in the midst of all the busy-ness, you are taking care yourself and your happiness.
SC: Can you share some tips for getting your daughters to eat healthy?
CF: One of the innovative things about NurturMe, that our customers first discovered, in fact, was this idea that you can use it as a way to incorporate more fruits & veggies into other, less healthful foods. Our dried, powdered squash, for example, makes a healthy addition to a batch of mac n’ cheese. Or try adding our sweet potatoes to homemade pancakes, for a little extra iron.
SC: What role does organic food play in your family?
CF: We honestly are not too hardcore about it, but there are certain foods I would not buy – like apples, strawberries, and blueberries – unless they were organic. And there are others, like avocados and watermelon, which are lower in pesticide use. But funnily enough, it was when we became parents and became hyper-aware of what our kids were eating and the cleanliness of their food, that my husband and I also became more sensitive to what we put in our own bodies.
SC: What are you most excited about at the moment?
CF: We have lots of new products in the works – ones that build upon the success of our current product family, things that are customers are telling us they want to see more of – that will be launching towards the end of the year. Keep an eye out!
SC: Looking forward to it! And where can we find more information about NurturMe?
SC: Lastly, are there any recipes you’d like to share with our readers?
CF: Yes! We have two delicious fall recipes listed below, one for Sweet Potato Muffins with Chocolate Chips, and another for an autumn-inspired Greek yogurt parfait. Both were created for us by Chef Vanessa Musi of Edit Bakery in Austin, Texas.
Hearty Sweet Potato Muffins with Double Chocolate Chips
INGREDIENTS: MAKES: 12
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup NurturMeal Hearty Sweet Potato and NurturMeal Sweet Bananas OR NurturMeal Carrot, Raisin and Sweet Potato Blend [Mix NurturMeals with water or orange juice to form a thickish puree]
- 1/2 cup Stonyfield Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon butter (melted or sunflower seed or saflower oil)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Prepare muffin pan with liners, or spray with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, mix with a whisk by hand: egg, sugar, vanilla, butter. Add NurturMeal puree and yogurt.
- Add flour and whisk lightly until combined.
- Add chocolate chips and mix delicately.
- Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and fill to the top.
- Sprinkle more chocolate or chopped nuts on top.
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove tray from oven and let muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan and cool completely on baking rack.
NOTE: Recipe can be made with dried or fresh cranberries instead of the chocolate chips.
Fall Greek Yogurt Parfait
INGREDIENTS: MAKES: 1
- NurturMeal Hearty Sweet Potato [Mix NuturMeals with water or orange juice to form a thickish puree]
- Stonyfield Greek yogurt: as needed
- Honey or agave syrup: as needed
- Granola of choice (pumpkin would be good!) or crumbled graham crackers: as needed
- NurturMeal Protein Packed Quinoa: as needed
- Fresh blueberries
- Prepare puree and pour into mason jar or ramekin.
- Add Greek yogurt and drizzle with honey or agave syrup. Sprinkle granola and quinoa, and top with blueberries.
- Add NurturMeal Sweet Bananas to the NurturMeal Hearty Sweet Potato puree.
- Add a natural fruit topping or jam with no added sugar.
- Substitute blueberries for peaches, raspberries or strawberries.
- Top with NurturMe Tropical Twist Yum-a-Roos.