In addition to its carrots, Babe Farms Inc. this year is promoting a complementary item — green cone cabbage. ( Babe Farms Inc. )

Babe Farms offers cone cabbage

Baby carrots are a specialty of Babe Farms Inc., Santa Maria, Calif., but the company currently is promoting a complementary item — green cone cabbage — said Ande Manos, marketing and business development manager.

The cone-shaped product is much sweeter than regular green cabbage, she said, and is particularly palate pleasing when it's "wedged" or cut in half, grilled and garnished like an iceberg wedge with thick, creamy dressing like blue cheese or ranch.

It also can be eaten raw, seared or roasted.

"It holds up to heat very well, and the flavor profile is enhanced when it's cooked," Manos said.

The company has been promoting green cone cabbage mostly for foodservice customers but now hopes to stimulate more sales at retail.

Babe Farms also offers seven varieties of baby carrots - white, yellow, purple, maroon, pink, French and round or Thumbelina.


Grimmway opens new sales office

Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., opened a sales office in nearby Arvin late last year that will accommodate the firm's conventional and organic sales units.

"We made the move in an effort to support a more mainstream system of sales operations," Eric Proffitt, senior vice president of sales, said in a news release. "With sales teams for Grimmway and Cal-Organic farms under the same roof, we are able to better serve our customers, offering a convenient, consolidated buying option for both conventional and organic produce."

Bob Borda, vice president of organic sales, said in the release that the change allows Grimmway Farms to meet rising demand.

"By combining the two sales teams, we have made it easier for our customers through better communication and service," he said.

The company has seen record growth, he said, "and we are now prepared better than ever to tackle it."


Harold Crawford dies at age 90

Harold Crawford, founder of the Harold Crawford Co. in Bakersfield, Calif., one of the first to mechanically harvest carrots, died Feb. 20 at age 90.

After earning a degree at Seattle Pacific University, Crawford joined his father, Wesley, who founded the Wesley Crawford and Son Co., in Washington in 1948, according to a 2015 article in Western Growers' magazine.

The firm specialized in repacking tomatoes and carrots.

Crawford became president and CEO at age 23, when his father died in 1950.

He changed the name to Gro-Pak Inc. and moved the firm to Bakersfield, where he opened Kern County's first carrot packaging shed, according to the magazine.

"We started the carrot industry in Bakersfield," he told the magazine. "I was here before Bolthouse and before Grimmway."

He said he was the first to machine harvest fresh-market carrots, the first to hydro-cool carrots and the first to have his own ice machine.

He sold the company to Belridge Packing Co. in 1969 and established the Harold Crawford Co. in 1978.

Although Crawford retired in 2014 and sold his company to his partners in January 2015, he continued to come into the office regularly.

"He retired, but he was always involved in the business," chief operating officer Mike Horder said. "He really left the day-to-day operations up to us, but if there was something important he'd always be there."