Meet the Mom Behind Square One Organics (and a giveaway too!)
You want your baby to have the best “start” to growing up healthy. This starts with good nutrition, but with all that a busy mom is juggling how is she to know what is the best food for her baby? We came across this amazingly helpful site Square One Organics. Not only do they sell organic baby food, but they have everything from food family awareness information to free down-loadable food journals for your baby’s different stages. And they worked with a medical team to make sure their superfoods remain top of the line, giving your baby all he needs to grow up healthy and give you peace of mind. This site was too good to keep to ourselves, so we interviewed the founder of Square One Organics for our Mom Monday.
Denise, Square One Organics grew out a real personal need when you found out your little son had food allergies. Can you tell us the “birth story” of Square One Organics?
The Square One Organics birth story begins with the 2001 Thanksgiving Day premature birth of our twins, Grace and Jed. We very quickly found out that Jed was allergic to dairy and soy. I was told that the only thing we could really do for him was to keep him away from foods containing dairy and soy while waiting for him to outgrow his allergies.
I’m a type A perfectionist kind of gal, so I absolutely needed something more to do. I decided to try to boost his immune system while we were “waiting”. When I started researching what foods would make an identifiable positive impact on growth and development, I ran right into the word “Superfoods”. I decided to focus primarily on those foods. I mean if a sleep deprived mom of twins is going to be up at 2:00am making her own organic baby food, I didn’t want to make anything that didn’t bring a lot to the nutrition party. The twins were thriving and other moms in my neighborhood started noticing what I was doing. A few of them encouraged me to turn my superfood routine into a business. After two years of product development with a medical and food team, Square One Organics came to market in June of 2008.
You make buying organic food very easy and affordable. We love the color coding on your packaging so parents can be sure baby is getting all her needed vitamins and minerals. Where did you receive the inspiration for this?
Prior to being a stay at home mom, I was a broker on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yes, I was one of those people making all of the funny hand signals. I worked in the Euro Dollar Pit and all of the products we dealt with were organized by year, month and color. So I came from an environment where color was used to organize and streamline a complicated process. My husband was also a trader so I knew if I incorporated color, it would make feeding the babies a lot easier for him too.
Foods with an orange package are our Super Vitamin A foods, Red packs are our Super Vitamin C’s, Green Packs are our Supergreens and Purple packs are our cereals. We call our cereals Porridge because my husband is a hippie! You know, for a lot of families nutrition can feel like a challenging process. If color-coding the packaging takes the guesswork out of feeding, then I am so happy to have helped.
We did two other things to really bring home the color coding and to make healthy food choices fun. First, was to write and release The Square One Organics Children’s CD based on our approach. My husband is also a musician and played in the Lee DeWyze band for 5 years. I had so much research on these superfoods so I asked him if he and the band would do this for us. They did it! Who knew that Lee would go on to be the 2010 American Idol?
Second was to put together The Square One Organics Superfood Guide. Again using colors and Vitamin Categories we show families a lot of superfoods, not just the one’s Square One Organics offers.
Your mission statement makes our baby hearts happy here at Kolcraft. Can you talk more about your philosophy behind Square One Organics?
Every food in the Square One® line is a Super Food. We choose organic foods because we believe that what you don’t give a child is just as important as what you do. Organic foods are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals. The only ingredients you will find in our purees are organic fruits, vegetables, grains and water. Our cups are #5 recyclable polypropylene one of the top three healthiest types of plastic for food containers. Number 5 polypropylene does not contain Bisphenol-A and has not been shown to leach carcinogens or endocrine disruptors.
The philosophy behind the brand came out of what was happening in our house with the twins and our “waiting period” with Jed. Thinking back about how ubber diligent we were is pretty funny. In addition to keeping their food really pure and simple, “we” removed everything from their environment that could have challenged their immune systems.
My husband loves to tell the story about the day I threw away his deodorant and tooth paste. I had just finished researching chemicals and their possible effects on infants. I was concerned about some of the ingredients I saw on the labels of the products he was using at the time. So I just threw them all away one day. I did think it was rather nice of me to replace his traditional deodorant with a salt rock and tooth paste with baking soda! I think the brand reflects that purity. That is why the Square One Organics line offers nothing but unblended organic superfoods and water, cooked first to be safe and then immediately frozen. We let the freezer do the preserving. Also the cooking and freezing approach results in food that has a remarkable taste. Unblended foods with a remarkable taste, makes the transition to table food much easier.
What was the biggest challenge to starting Square One Organics?
I would say that in general the biggest challenge is the number of hours you have to work. The balancing act between family and family business can get pretty interesting.
Have you seen a difference in your children’s eating habits and overall health since they have been “raised organically?”
I would say most certainly yes. They independently make some pretty impressive food choices. They will be starting third grade next year and let me tell you, the lunch room social scene is quite the deal. So even with all the interesting food happening around them they still plow throw the organic whole foods we send with them!
Now for a quick glance into Denise’s life.
What has been your greatest joy as a mom? My greatest joy is that I get the privilege of being Jed and Grace’s mom. Sharing their life, is truly my privilege.
What keeps you going through busy days? The hope that one day I will finally talk my husband into taking down the knotty pine paneling in our basement. He loves it.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Coffee, diet coke out of the can and the Outlander Series of Books by Diana Gabaldon
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? I would sleep late and have my husband’s Eggs Benedict and coffee for breakfast. Then go for a long walk along the lake front with a huge cup of coffee and our dog Smokey. I would have a burger at Moody’s in Chicago for lunch with my husband. After lunch, I would meet up with my gal pals for coffee and a gab fest. Then off to my mom and dad’s house for dinner. The gals would certainly join my family along with my brother’s crew. It gives me great joy to watch my children play with my brother’s kids. My mother, who is all Italian, would have to cook on this day and make our family’s Italian meat sauce. My father who is also Italian would have to go to the Italian bakery. We would have fresh caprese salad to start; the main course would be pasta and my mom’s sauce, Italian bread, sausage, neck bones and meat balls. It matters not which pasta is served, what is important here is her sauce. My brother and I both make it and come pretty close, but nobody makes it like she does. Dessert would be any sort of coconut chocolate concoction and Italian cookies – Oh and coffee! I would make sure that on this day I did not do any dishes and I would fall asleep watching Mary Tyler Moore Show reruns.
If someone was going to write a book on your life, what would the title be? You know my mom gave me a plaque for the wall of my home office when I started Square One Organics. It reads: “Wish, Hope, Dream…. Then Make it Happen!” I think that would be a pretty good title.
We know you and baby will love Square One Organics. To get you started on your Square One Organics journey, we are having a giveaway!
The giveaway will include:
• 12-pack super starter pack with a goodie bag
• Square One cd
• Super food shopping guide with two recipes
That’s a 50 dollar value!
It’s easy to enter.
• Visit Square One Organics and let us know your favorite aspect of the site by leaving a comment on Baby Matters Blog. This is mandatory to enter.