Following a successful year, Babé Farms has increased its plantings this year of Blonde Frisée™ and is now seeing plentiful supply. This year, Babé Farms has also introduced its new Platinum Blonde Frisée Salad, which is a value-added item that’s trimmed, pre-washed, and ready to eat.
The bulk of the frisée is grown in Santa Maria, California, where Babé Farms can grow its frisée products year-round. While this year saw a rainy start, growing conditions have since been favorable, and it’s optimistic for a smooth winter. “Though due to high demand, we have recently begun a Blonde Frisée growing program with our partner growers in South Baja, Mexico,” says Babé Farms’ Matt Hiltner. “The Mexican product excels in both quality and sizing and will supplement our local supplies to help meet customer demands.”
Competing product for the frisée is primarily from Europe, though due to air freight, sourcing European product can be cost-prohibitive in the U.S.
Demand to increase
As for demand, it’s been good but it’s expected to pick up over the holidays given that the product is largely a foodservice item and this time of year, foodservice demand tends to increase. “Blonde Frisée is more of a niche item that finds its home in the fine dining space,” says Hiltner. “Top chefs prize this type of gourmet yellow frisée for its curl, texture, and bitter edge. Over the years, it has become one of our signature items, and we are now one of the largest scale producers of Blonde Frisée in the U.S.”
To keep movement steady, the grower-shipper is asking customers to provide their estimated weekly purchasing volume of Platinum Blonde Frisée Salad to help ensure a seamless introduction and efficient distribution.
On pricing, it’s fairly consistent with where it was last year at this time. For Babé Farms, it’s offering introductory pricing on the Platinum Blonde Frisée Salad as it continues to roll this item out.