Radish supplies are coming back strong following a challenging winter.
“We hit a bit of a rough period in the winter months due to some freezing temperatures in the Santa Maria Valley,” says Matt Hiltner of Babé Farms, Inc. in Santa Maria, Ca. “But now, heading into spring, just about all of our radish varieties are back in good supply.”
Currently, supplies are greater than this time last year when the region experienced heavy rainfall that impacting volume.
Mixed Ninja radishes.
Babé’s radishes largely continue to be grown out of the Santa Maria Valley in California and the company has a variety on offer beyond the traditional red-and-white salad addition. These include the Purple Ninja radish, a spicier variety; a sleek and white Icicle radish; the multi-colored Easter Egg radish; a fancy French Breakfast radish and more recent additions including the Mixed Ninja Radish (with Poppin’ Pink and Flamin’ Red versions of the Purple Ninja radish) and the Pink Dragon Radish, a vibrant pink radish that’s sweeter and milder than a traditional radish. “We do outsource production of our Watermelon radishes and Black radishes to our partner growers in Baja, MX,” says Hiltner, who notes that competing product comes out of both California and Mexico. “We find that these two varieties need a very specific climate in order to thrive.”
Meanwhile Babe is looking to retail as a possible source of increased business. “With the ripples in the produce industry caused by COVID-19, we are all navigating uncharted territory,” says Hiltner. “We are hopeful that the uptick in retail business will help subsidize the decline in business from foodservice sector.”
Hiltner adds that since the outbreak, Babe has seen increased demand at the retail level for produce and notes that many of its hearty, specialty items including radishes, beets, baby carrots, kohlrabi, celery root, fennel and Romanesco fit into the category of produce with long shelf-life.
Pink Dragon radish.
“With many staple produce items running scarce right now, retail consumers are turning to specialties to satisfy their needs,” he says. And as part of its marketing efforts, last week, Babe began shifting its social media posts towards retail shoppers to help educate them on some of the specialty vegetable items that they may not have seen or tried before.
And despite all the change in the marketplace, pricing on radishes continue to be consistent as they have been since last year.