Babé Farms' Matt Hiltner Discusses Consumer Engagement Through Social Media, Highlights French Violet Radish

SANTA MARIA, CA - One of the best aspects of the produce industry—in my humble opinion—is how naturally gorgeous the products are. As Instagram continues to dominate the social media landscape, so too do the drool-worthy photos presented by chefs and bloggers.

I caught up with Matt Hiltner, Marketing Coordinator for Babé Farms, about how the company has been using social media to up its consumer engagement, bring more veggie lovers to customers' tables, and showcase its newest products.

Being added to these infinitely Instagrammable photos is Babé Farms new variety of radish: its French Violet Radish. With a striking violet hue, this radish is grown in limited quantities in the heart of the Santa Maria Valley, and is slated to debut at this year’s United Fresh.

Matt Hiltner, Marketing Coordinator, Babé FarmsMatt Hiltner, Marketing Coordinator, Babé Farms"No one is growing this radish at the scale that we are," Matt explains to me, sharing what makes this Violet Radish unique. "The red French Breakfast radish is one of our most popular radish varieties, so when we learned about its purple counterpart, we felt it was a no-brainer adding it to our product line—especially with purple food being on trend. That’s why I like our products: they’re so colorful you just have to put them out there, and they merchandise themselves."

With produce being some of the easiest and most Instagram-worthy content, it seems necessary to take to the social media platform to showcase how beautiful fresh food can be. For those at Babé Farms, the opportunity to highlight the beauty in their products was too good to pass up.

"Over the past year, we've been ramping up our social media efforts. I wanted to start bringing us into the social media realm,” Matt shares with me. "In early 2017, our efforts in connecting with chefs and bloggers kicked up. We would message them or they would message us, and we would start working together on featuring our vegetables through their photography or recipe development or featuring our items on their menus."

Babé Farms uses its Instagram to showcase how beautiful fresh food can beBabé Farms uses its Instagram to showcase how beautiful fresh food can be

Matt and the team at Babé Farms realized that using social media to highlight their product would ensure the message spread about both the beauty and the freshness of its veggies.

"It’s something that really helps us. It's how we get to our end users and bring more value to our customer relationships," Matt tells me. "We sell our product primarily through produce distributors, not necessarily directly to chefs. This way chefs can see our label and click on our offers, and then they’re asking our distributors for our products."

Along with collaborating with bloggers and chefs, Babé has its own social media campaign called TGIFresh. This campaign pairs a trendy hashtag with quality, useful content that users can both enjoy and learn from.

One of Babé Farms' Instagrammable produce items is its new French violet radishOne of Babé Farms' Instagrammable produce items is its new French violet radish

"Every Friday, we'll do a photoshoot for a product and write up the history of it, its applications, growing patterns, when it’s going to be available, as well as seasonal items," Matt shares. "I’ll even give some recipes. It's kind of like a blend of social media and email marketing."

For those attending PMA Foodservice, you too can TGIFresh, by stopping by booth #819 to snap a picture of the French Violet Radish. Your Instagram will thank you.

by Andrea Allen at AndNowUKnow.