I told myself, when I reach 1,000 followers on Twitter, I would start a blog as the next ‘phase’ of this project. When I started on Twitter several years ago I didn’t know if it would be an effective use of my time, or a waste of my time. I’ve definitely found it an effective use of my time, and some of the directions it has taken me and contacts it has given me have been surprising.
I’ve actually created some business, made some friends, and had some great conversations through Twitter. I’ve used it to promote new products, upcoming fresh produce seasons, peak of season highlights, and was even asked to give a talk on apple varieties at a culinary school. During trade shows I regularly tweet about what I’m seeing and am amazed at the traction it has. I'm also surprised how often I recognize someone or a name from Tweets I’ve seen, or to have my ‘cherrydude’ moniker recognized by someone as well.
Some of my Twitter highlights over the years include a mention by @kathycaseychef, she’s known worldwide and when you’re in the Seattle airport, a stop at Dish-D’Lish is always a must. I won a haiku contest promoted by @PepinHeights and received a delicious box of their honeycrisp apples as a result. A couple of years ago @westcoastcook and I had some conversations and it ended up with me giving a talk and sampling apple varieties at one of the classes he teaches in Seattle. I should ask him about doing that again, it was fun and educational for all. @fruitnerd and I have exchanged information on our respective crops and seasons from Chile and the U.S. I’ve loved the energy of @producemom and some of the interactions it has created with @sagefruit. Industry pro @berrybroad and I have exchanged thoughts and retweeted each other numerous times over the past several years. @jpandol and I started tweeting a couple of years ago and we’ve had several industry conversations. I like the way @tomdunitedsalad gives quick updates on availability and new crop items. Another follow I like is @tmkproduce and their new announcements as well. I’m still indebted to @alisaMS and her husband for introducing me to several people in St. Louis and then to top it off, introducing me to St. Louis style pizza at one of their Imo’s pizzas in St. Louis – delicious! Whenever I tweet about cherries, @bjthurlby is always right there to comment and retweet. @EventsWA is also great for retweeting about events and happenings in our great state of Washington and I always appreciate their efforts.
Twitter also takes you down unexpected roads.
I’m a fantasy sports geek, and managed to make it on ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball league, one of the hosts, @matthewberrytmr, (New York Time’s Best Selling author for ‘Fantasy Life’) gave me a shout out after I did my ‘Man’s League’ interview with him and host Nate Ravitz which was a definite bucket item list for me. My 13-year old son ran into Hannah Simone of the television show ‘New Girl’ on the Oregon coast, and thanks to his sister, received a great tweet from her that made his day.
The final tweet sample that surprised me is for an account we help manage. One of my roles with the Grant J. Hunt Company is business development and produce alliance with Tajin seasonings, the #1 produce seasoning in Mexico and the U.S. Imagine our surprise when Hilary Duff tweeted in early August that she loves Tajin with her watermelon. Over 4 million followers, that certainly made my day!
When I started tweeting, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m not quite certain in which direction this blog will go either. It will focus on fresh produce but will make the occasional detour. Social media has been such an impactful tool and its uses will continue to grow. One of my favorite things to tweet is photos of the orchards and growing areas. There are so many people out there that aren’t sure when or where there produce is growing and I receive the most comments on those photos. It is helping others understand some of the seasonality and efforts it takes to get a fresh piece of produce from the ground to their table. I’ll definitely keep those photos coming. I hope to see you on Twitter! Let’s start a conversation @cherrydude.
If you're in the fruit industry, I hope to run into you at the 2013 Fresh Summit in New Orleans!