Carrots

IMG_4193Our carrots are awesome. They are one of the crops where you can instantly taste the difference that farm fresh makes. They are very sweet, thin-skinned (with the exception of winter season, you don’t have to peel them!) and we don’t do much grading, which means they are not all the same size and shape, and there may be some really funky shaped ones, or two that are getting friendly and wrapped around each other. Contrary to what you see in the grocery store, carrots do not grow all the same size and shape. There is so much food waste in grading, and also a huge missed opportunity for education. We want you to know what REAL carrots look like!

We grow a variety called Nantes Half-Long, which is always the running joke: “If this is half-long, I’d hate to see Long!”. Our topsoil is thin (about 6″) and so we grow our storage carrots in raised beds so the carrots have enough room to grow to full length. For early season carrots we plant directly at soil level, and end up with shorter carrots with some gnarled ends from when they hit the clay below. The clay is great for retaining moisture, so there are always positives and negatives in every situation!

14962747_1294894213874871_7021193596262870727_nWe also grow rainbow carrots, which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes! The standard orange, our favourite in terms of flavour, is a Nantes type – recognized by their stubby blunt ends and superior flavour. The purple are either purple haze (long and nearly black) or cosmic purple (short and stubby with vibrant purple skin and orange inside). Some of the yellow (Yellowstone) and white (White Satin) carrots are a type called Imperator, which I call “clubs” because they grow very large and club-like with long, tapering ends. They are not our favourite varieties because they are very hard to dig and they get stuck in the clay. The final variety we grow is called Rainbow: they are a cross between Imperator and Nantes, have a natural color variation from orange to white, have the growth habit of Imperator but the better flavour of a Nantes. Whatever the color, size, or shape, they are all delicious! Did you know that original carrots were purple? It’s humans that cultivated the orange variety through plant breeding. They all taste like carrots, but there is a bit of variation on the flavour, so I encourage you to sample each one and see what colour is your favourite!

12670151_1087897001241261_7888800550892367944_nSeason: We try to have carrots available year-round, but generally sell out of our storage carrots by May or June and the new baby carrots are usually ready by mid-July, depending on the growing season.
Early in the season the carrots come in bunches with tops attached. Later in the summer, fall and winter carrots are sold in bags with the tops removed.

Storage Tips: Store carrots completely covered in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. If it is early in the season and they have the tops attached, remove them before storing as they will suck nutrients from the roots through a process called aspiration. You may need to poke a few holes in the bag to allow condensation to escape. Early season carrots will keep for 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge, and storage carrots keep much longer, especially if you order them unwashed.

Preparation Tips: Young carrots don’t need to be peeled before eating. You can freeze carrots, but make sure to lightly blanch them first.