On Tuesday, Tucker Taylor posted a picture of cauliflower to his Instagram page that got more than 450 likes, which is pretty good for cauliflower.
To be fair, it’s Romanesco cauliflower, an uncannily beautiful cruciferous varietal, with a bright-green hue and a fractal pattern to set mathematicians’ hearts aflutter.
But, still. Cauliflower.
In his role as a culinary gardener for some of Wine Country’s biggest names, Taylor (@farmert), has not only become an internet star but an unofficial ambassador for Sonoma County.
So, too, have Amy Lieberfarb (@amylieberfarb), a wine and food blogger, and Adam Shindledecker, who goes by Decker (@adamdecker), a photographer who runs a group called Instagramers of the North Bay.
Together, the three have a combined following of more than 150,000 on Instagram and Twitter, the two popular social media networks that daily are used by an estimated 340 million people around the world.
The trio are not the most followed social media users hailing from Sonoma County, a distinction that belongs to celebrity chef Guy Fieri, tech pioneer Tim O’Reilly and cellist and activist Zoë Keating, each with more than a million followers.
What differentiates Taylor, Lieberfarb and Decker is their focus: online conversations about our region with people all over the world, helping form virtual communities revolving around shared passions of food, wine and photography.
They are among about a dozen Sonoma County residents with expansive social media followings that Tim Zahner, the chief marketing officer for Sonoma County Tourism, considers social media influencers.
“These posts represent the idea of a place of amazing food and wine and experiences,” Zahner said. “It’s an idealized Sonoma County.”
The social media posts are what out-of-towners want to visit when they come on vacation, Zahner said, whether their interests are escapist or aspirational.
“There is the representation of that life in the social media posts that people find exciting,” he said.
Amy Lieberfarb’s popular #SonomaChat Twitter series began as a means to an end.
When her two daughters transitioned from private to public elementary schools in 2007, she learned of the lack of library staff in Sonoma County public schools. As a business-minded marketing guru with a background in web design, Lieberfarb began thinking of ways she could promote public school libraries.
In 2013, she was attending a lot of Wine Country events. Wondering if winery owners might be interested in helping out her cause, she quickly found her pitch difficult to sell.
“It was a really fraternity, sorority world,” said Lieberfarb, who moved to Sonoma County from the East Bay in 2002. “I couldn’t talk the talk. I couldn’t walk the walk. ... It was a matter of making myself important in Sonoma County.”
So she came up with the idea for #SonomaChat, a weekly hourlong Twitter event on Wednesdays where a community of online wine-lovers from all over the world participate in a themed conversation, hosted by a specific Sonoma County winery, and moderated by Lieberfarb. Each “chat” features at least six questions to which winery representatives and Twitter users respond.
The weekly chat averages between 220 and 350 active contributors — most of whom don’t live in Sonoma County, and Lieberfarb charges wineries $500 to act as host. Of the contributors, there are about 20 of what Lieberfarb calls “power fans,” those who faithfully open up a bottle from the host winery each week.
Social media emissaries of Sonoma County
Amy Lieberfarb (@amylieberfarb)
Food and wine blogger and founder of #SonomaChat
16.5K Instagram followers
103K Twitter followers
Tucker Taylor (@farmert)
Director of culinary gardens for Jackson Family Wines
44.7K Instagram followers
1,884 Twitter followers
Adam Decker (@adamdecker, @igersnorthbay)
Freelance photographer, started Instagramers of the North Bay, #igersnorthbay
3,870 Instagram followers @adamdecker
1,023 Instagram followers @igersnorthbay