Romanesco contributes some springtime flare

04/05/2012 03:02:00 PM
Susie Cable

One grower-shipper in the Santa Maria growing region focuses almost solely on baby vegetables, but lately it’s a more mature vegetable that’s one of its popular items.

Among the favorites these days at Santa Maria, Calif.-based Babé Farms is what saleswoman Ande Manos calls its “large” romanesco.

Because the company specializes in miniature vegetables, its “large” romanesco is actually the regular-sized vegetable. The sweet, nutty flavor, as well as its visually stunning fractal patterns, draw buyers, Manos said.

The company ships its large romanesco in 12- and 16-count containers. It added the product to its line last spring, Manos said.

Babé Farms markets about 75 varieties of produce, Manos said. It markets year-round supplies of vegetables, including root vegetables, baby leafy greens and specialty greens, which it grows in the Santa Maria Valley.

In late March, Babé Farms was gearing up for the Easter push for root vegetables, when consumers and retailers like to see a lot of colorful items, including multiple varieties of specialty radishes, carrots and beets. The company also had ready for Easter its baby kohlrabi, Tokyo or pink turnips, and romanesco.

While the colorful root vegetables help make an Easter meal more special, they have a special appeal to consumers throughout the springtime, as they are looking for seasonal and specialty vegetables to enjoy, Manos said.

“They want to see a lot of color on the plate,” she said.

Color is not the only draw for Babé Farms’ vegetables. Because they specialize in baby vegetables, the cuteness factor is a major attraction.

Babé Farms markets mostly to foodservice buyers throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Manos said. Chefs use the colorful and cute vegetables to add interest and flavor to their meals.

Manos said specialty baby vegetables, including baby purple cauliflower, baby artichokes and baby romanesco, are more often being used in floral displays now.

“The products we have fit very nicely into that,” she said.



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