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  #1  
Old 07-10-2014, 02:17 PM
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Default Parents/USDA Agree: Offer Organic Food

So, I have two 8-month-old babies 3 days a week and both sets of parents want organic food. I told them initially that I could not provide it as it was too expensive. I would be able to offer regular baby food. They both decided to bring their own organic baby food instead.

It was kind of bugging me, so I asked my USDA Food Program rep if the USDA was thinking of offering more money to recompense for organic food (right now, it is .40 for snack and $1.40 for lunch.) She said no, and then came to meet with me. She is super sweet and convinced me to give it a trial period of buying organic food in bulk and then freezing it.

I have never made baby food, and I don't even buy organic for my own family as it is too expensive. This seems to be the trend, though, in all the parents in our are (between D.C. and Baltimore).

I think I will offer it until 1 year of age ONLY. I will be making it this weekend and have these re-usable pouches:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FNIZQ6W/...332200_TE_item

I will be able to write off the extra expense at the end of the year, but the upfront cost is pretty high.

What do you ladies (and occasional gentleman) think of this new trend? Does it make me more marketable? Or is it taking on too much?
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:32 PM
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If you want to offer it and expense is the only drawback (meaning you don't mind the extra work if any) then I'd just offer it but raise tuition accordingly. If you don't want to be bothered, then let them continue to bring their own food.

Laurel
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Laurel View Post
If you want to offer it and expense is the only drawback (meaning you don't mind the extra work if any) then I'd just offer it but raise tuition accordingly. If you don't want to be bothered, then let them continue to bring their own food.

Laurel
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:16 PM
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We buy as much organic for our family as we can afford, and I buy it for the daycare too. It is more expensive but we feel it's worth it. For baby food, once they're past the first foods I make my own baby food in the food processor and freeze it in ice cube trays. It's cheaper and tastier than jarred baby food. (And yes, I have tasted both!)
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:26 PM
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I buy all organic produce for the daycare and as much as I can for my family.

As for the homemade baby food, its super easy to make abs it's really cheap too! The jarred stuff is nasty... In more than one way.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:33 PM
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I buy organic for daycare and for my own family and raise tuition to cover it. Parents don't complain!
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:48 PM
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I offer organic for as much as I can. I don't charge extra, yet. But I might someday.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:54 PM
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I don't specifically do organic but I do cook and serve "real" food. As in I use a lot of natural and fresh ingredients. I make my own baby food and honestly it's not that hard. I just made a few batches of apple/strawberry, banana/raspberry/apple, sweet potato/peas, and plain apple.

All I do is boil/steam the fresh ingredients and puree them in the blender. Then I have a few trays (like ice cube trays but for baby food, they have lids) that I pour the purees in and once they're frozen I pop them out and bag them in Zip lock bags. For me it only requires normal pots, a steamer, freezer trays (given to me) and zip lock bags.

I even go as far as to make my own travel food pouches. The "press" cost me $17 and I just buy extra bags. When the puree is done I fill about 2 dozen or so bags for walks and outings. I don't think it's THAT time consuming and better then pre-made baby food (preservatives). The only difference is that your clients want organic, mine are happy with just home-made so you'll be spending a little more than I do.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MV View Post
I don't specifically do organic but I do cook and serve "real" food. As in I use a lot of natural and fresh ingredients. I make my own baby food and honestly it's not that hard. I just made a few batches of apple/strawberry, banana/raspberry/apple, sweet potato/peas, and plain apple.

All I do is boil/steam the fresh ingredients and puree them in the blender. Then I have a few trays (like ice cube trays but for baby food, they have lids) that I pour the purees in and once they're frozen I pop them out and bag them in Zip lock bags. For me it only requires normal pots, a steamer, freezer trays (given to me) and zip lock bags.

I even go as far as to make my own travel food pouches. The "press" cost me $17 and I just buy extra bags. When the puree is done I fill about 2 dozen or so bags for walks and outings. I don't think it's THAT time consuming and better then pre-made baby food (preservatives). The only difference is that your clients want organic, mine are happy with just home-made so you'll be spending a little more than I do.
I was going to argue that making your own baby food was less nutritious than store bought (unless you use organic vegetables, then maybe). THEN, I remember you are in California. Here in WI, our produce is picked before it's ripe (for the most part) and then funky things are done to it so that it's at it's "peak" when it ends up in the grocery store. Unless, of course, we buy it from a farmer's market.

I remember the vegies and fruit in CA from my visits. SO jealous!
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
I was going to argue that making your own baby food was less nutritious than store bought (unless you use organic vegetables, then maybe). THEN, I remember you are in California. Here in WI, our produce is picked before it's ripe (for the most part) and then funky things are done to it so that it's at it's "peak" when it ends up in the grocery store. Unless, of course, we buy it from a farmer's market.

I remember the vegies and fruit in CA from my visits. SO jealous!
Oh that's right. I didn't think of this until you said it. We can pretty much grow anything here and we are majorly an agricultural state because of that. We live in a small city but it's still a city and my house is across from a strawberry field that's in the city. We get our strawberries fresh and our stores all get everything else local. You make a good point
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarah33 View Post
So, I have two 8-month-old babies 3 days a week and both sets of parents want organic food. I told them initially that I could not provide it as it was too expensive. I would be able to offer regular baby food. They both decided to bring their own organic baby food instead.

It was kind of bugging me, so I asked my USDA Food Program rep if the USDA was thinking of offering more money to recompense for organic food (right now, it is .40 for snack and $1.40 for lunch.) She said no, and then came to meet with me. She is super sweet and convinced me to give it a trial period of buying organic food in bulk and then freezing it.

I have never made baby food, and I don't even buy organic for my own family as it is too expensive. This seems to be the trend, though, in all the parents in our are (between D.C. and Baltimore).

I think I will offer it until 1 year of age ONLY. I will be making it this weekend and have these re-usable pouches:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FNIZQ6W/...332200_TE_item

I will be able to write off the extra expense at the end of the year, but the upfront cost is pretty high.

What do you ladies (and occasional gentleman) think of this new trend? Does it make me more marketable? Or is it taking on too much?
Even with buying organic produce, my check from the food program is more than enough to cover it. I only spend about half of my reimbursement on food.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:39 PM
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Interesting conversation. Our food program says that organic has no more nutrients than non-organic, therefore it is just as nutritious. It just has no chemicals used during the growing, so you are avoiding any ingestion of those products.

I have used increasingly more organic food over the past ten years. But it is more expensive. I do not promise organic to my families, because I can't always get the variety that I want, or at times can't afford it. I tell them that I use mostly organic or minimally treated (which means that good growing practices are used, but their farm is not certified organic, so they can't use that term) and I buy huge quantities from farmer's markets to winter over or freeze. We have a contest every year to make our winter squash last as far into the winter as possible. So far we've made it to the beginning of March That's what we don't freeze.

I would say my food costs are close to double what they were ten years ago. But that is partly attributable to rising food costs in general, partly to using organic, and partly due to my gangbuster bunch of hungry almost-K kids. But there is no way my FP covers my full food expense.

As to the marketability, yes, I think parents here do want organic food for their kids. Even if they don't use it at home
I actually like it that they aren't picky on my meals being totally organic.

Last edited by SignMeUp; 07-10-2014 at 05:42 PM. Reason: last paragraph added
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:09 PM
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I offer organic baby food/cereal for under 1's and I do a lot of organic foods in general but not ALL. We do eat some things that are frowned upon... Nutri-Grain bars, graham crackers, frozen pancakes/waffles, hotdogs, etc BUT when I do I buy the good ones. Hebrew National franks, 100% natural all beef, Kosher, GF, etc. Frozen waffles are GF too. Chicken nuggets are the Yummy brand out of Canada, GMO free, antibiotic/hormone free, 100% natural and a GF option for my GF guy.
In CA we are very lucky to have a lot of local fresh foods available to us and I like to take advantage of that! It is more expensive but I feel it's well worth it. We can get dairy products that are made from cows we can actually drive by within 10-15 mins! Produce is grown anywhere from 1-500 miles from our home. The closer the better! We get an organic produce box that grows it's produce all over CA but their main farm is 80 miles away, we did a farm tour last year and loved it!! We have a strawberry booth in town and can get other local veggies, another big farm a few miles away too! But we get a lot of coastal fog and cold nights so we can't grow things but they can grow 50 miles east without the fog.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:23 AM
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I buy and provide organic foods when I am able to.

In my community, things aren't always available.

However, I do have to say that the families that seem to request or like the organic food options the most are rarely the families that adopt the same healthy eating habits at home.

Seems they want ME to provider the good.


...maybe so they can not feel so guilty when they eat most their off-daycare meals via drive-throughs.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I buy and provide organic foods when I am able to.

In my community, things aren't always available.

However, I do have to say that the families that seem to request or like the organic food options the most are rarely the families that adopt the same healthy eating habits at home.

Seems they want ME to provider the good.


...maybe so they can not feel so guilty when they eat most their off-daycare meals via drive-throughs.
I do and have noticed the same thing.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:51 AM
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I buy as much organic food as I can afford. I make my own baby food. All meals are filled with fruit and veggies and made from scratch. I am not on the food program. I charge more for this service. Many of the daycares by me serve ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread with chips kinda meals. I serve home made veggie burgers with broccoli and carrot sticks. Parents are willing to pay me a little more for a home made organic hot meal.
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Old 07-11-2014, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi View Post
I was going to argue that making your own baby food was less nutritious than store bought (unless you use organic vegetables, then maybe). THEN, I remember you are in California. Here in WI, our produce is picked before it's ripe (for the most part) and then funky things are done to it so that it's at it's "peak" when it ends up in the grocery store. Unless, of course, we buy it from a farmer's market.

I remember the vegies and fruit in CA from my visits. SO jealous!
You can do it from frozen then. frozen has just about as many nutrients as fresh, and isn't overly processed like canned.

I suspect that commercial baby food tastes like sh*t is because they boil the veggie into oblivion before pureeing it.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:36 AM
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thanks ladies!

I decided to charge $20 a month for a prep fee. By the time I ran to the grocery store, found recipes, cooked, pureed and bagged the food...it was going on 6 hours. I am not going to charge for the food, but I am going to charge for my time. The parents instantly agreed - no fuss at all. I think they want organic homemade baby food for the kids...but they are very busy as working parents. Since I have two 8 month-old babies, that turns out to $40 a month. I may continue it when they get older than one, but it may be more expensive. I am going to add in more organic food to the older kids meals - mostly the produce. The milk is just way too expensive at $6 a gallon...but I may change my mind in a couple of months. I can definitely tell the food tastes better, and it really helps set me apart from other home daycares in the area. I bought the re-usable pouches and I actually used the "jello shot" glasses because they are exactly 2 ounces, and it is easy to twist the food out after it has frozen. My husband thought that was hilarious!
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:49 PM
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You can get great deals on organic produce if you shop around. Aldi even has some organic produce that is about the same price (or less) as regular produce at other stores. You can buy frozen organic produce really reasonably priced too.
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Old 07-22-2014, 12:58 PM
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I buy organic for both daycare and our family. Like another poster said my food program check covers the cost of food and then some.
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