Babé Farms' Matt Hiltner Shares Carrot Season Updates and How Retailers Can Stand Out This Season
- by Anne Allen
SANTA MARIA, CA - It seems like only yesterday I was discussing end-of-summer plans and somehow I’ve arrived at the holidays. How time flies! The produce industry understands how quickly days can slip into months, which explains how Babé Farms already had its head in the game as it looked toward the seasonal holiday push. While consumers are preparing for holiday meals, I asked Matt Hiltner, Marketing Coordinator, about the grower’s carrot crop, and how buyers can take advantage.
“In our coastal growing region in Santa Maria, California, we are fortunate to be able to grow, pack, and ship our colorful selection of carrots year-round. At Babé Farms, we grow six varieties of baby bunched carrots, including our French variety, an orange carrot, yellow, purple, pink, and white carrots, and Thumbelina, our round carrot. In addition, we offer hand-peeled carrots in French and mix-color offerings. These are available in a 5 lb “ZIP” bag as well as bulk, multi-color carrots with no tops in 25 lb sacks,” Matt explained.
Noting that the current carrot market is steady and active, it’s a perfect time for retailers and foodservice operators to continue stocking up as the holiday season begins.
“Right now, we are seeing strong supplies coming in on nearly all our baby bunched carrot offerings,” he remarked. “Now is a wonderful time to stock up as chefs begin their holiday menu planning.”
The Santa Maria weather, Matt shared with me, has made for excellent carrot quality. Babé Farms expects to see great supplies and quality throughout the holidays. And it would be remiss to not mention the company’s other specialty items, which includes its celery root, baby beets, kohlrabi, fennel, and radishes. All of these hearty vegetables elevate holiday cuisine.
“With low-carb and keto diets trending, celery root and kohlrabi are godsends in the kitchen when looking to recreate mashed potatoes, gratins, soups, stews, and other fall/winter favorites. And no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the stuffing. Elevate your stuffing game this season by adding fennel to the mix. Fennel provides a lovely aroma and licorice flavored crunch that will make stuffing a standout on a crowded Thanksgiving dinner plate,” Matt noted.
Retailers can facilitate these ideas by making grab-n-go recipe cards available to customers and cross-merchandising these vegetables with corresponding recipe ingredients, he shared with me. Consumers may also be intimidated by unique vegetables like celery root and kohlrabi, so it’s important for retailers to educate them with signage or even in-store cooking demos.
As the holiday season continues, AndNowUKnow will keep you abreast of all things related to produce.