in Specialty Vegetables
The creation of Babé Farms can be credited to its visionary founder Will Souza, a third generation farmer from a pioneer farm family in the Santa Maria Valley. Will, an avid world traveler, while in Europe in the early 1980's noticed the popularity of delicate salad greens called "mesclun" and mini "baby size" vegetables, a gourmet delight! An innovator by nature, Will returned to the family farm to capitalize on the idea of growing the European lettuce varieties and mini "baby" vegetables. In 1986, Will and his founding partners; Frank & Judy Lundberg and Greg & Cherrie Pedigo established "Babé Farms", a small innovative company breaking the mold of traditional farming. Babé Farms was one of the first to introduce packaged European salad mixes "mesclun", hand selected specialty greens and a colorful array of baby vegetables into the United States and Canada.
In the 80's and early 90's, spring mix salad greens weren't completely embraced by consumers, traditional lettuce varieties such as; iceberg, romaine, red & green leaf dominated the grocery shelves. Over time, as fine dining restaurants began serving these frilly and flavorful salad greens, the consumer began to demand packaged spring mix at the retail level. Additionally, with the revolution of the Food Network, foodie websites, blogs, specialty produce distributors, upscale grocers and a wide array of publications dedicated to gourmet cooking there has been substantial growth in the specialty produce category.
Today, Babé Farms has "grown-up", growing and harvesting over seventy different varieties of gourmet vegetables, including a colorful spectrum of baby carrots, specialty radishes, baby beets, baby lettuces, specialty greens, organic kales and spring mix, just to name a few. Committed to food safety and sustainable farming practices, Babé is the testing ground for many new varieties specialty vegetables and leafy greens. Now offering an extensive list of nearly 600 customized packs that meet the needs of well-stocked retailers and top chefs across the U.S. and Canada. Based year-round in the mild climate of Santa Maria, California, Babé Farms processes and ships from their newly opened facility; Fresh Venture Foods.
Judy Lundberg-Wafer, one of the original founding members of Babé Farms and her son Jeff Lundberg now own and operate Babé Farms. In early 2014, Judy stepped aside as Babé Farms President/CEO and passed the torch to her son Jeff who now serves as the President/CEO of the company. Lundberg-Wafer continues to play an active role as Babé Farms Chairman of the Board. It’s always been a "family style" business; many of the employees from the field and office/sales staff have been with the company for over twenty years. The focus of Babé Farms is the same; maintaining superior quality, innovation and genuine customer relationships. Now, over thirty years later, what was once a little company with a big vision Babé Farms has now become the premiere label in specialty vegetables and one of the main catalysts for the gourmet revolution in the produce industry.