Carrots (Daucus Carota) are a member of the Carrot family. They come from Afghanistan, in Central Asia, where the original plant was brought to Europe through the Middle East. The Dutch encountered this crop in the 15th century. They turned the deep purple root into the orange Carrots we see in the supermarket today. In Canadian stores, demand for certified organic carrots is around $29 Million a year. Even the discount stores sell these carrots at a premium that consumers willingly pay.
California is the largest Carrot producer in North America. China is the biggest global producer, at over 10 times what the USA produces. Alberta seems to be able to produce excellent organic carrots and there are several Calgary-region growers who have product well into the late Spring.
This is what Chris Dixon’s Healthy Edibles database of health uses for foods has to say (FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY):
includes Heirloom Yellow carrots, Red Carrots and Purple Haze: help prevent premature aging; boost immunity, stimulate healthy saliva which help wash away food stains on teeth & aid tooth enamel; protect against osteoporosis (fragile bones), smoke related lung cancer, stomach & prostrate cancer, stroke, night blindness, photic damage of the eye retina, macular degeneration of the eyes, & gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhea & constipation; supports the colon & excretion of toxic waste & cleans the liver; aids managing blood pressure & cholesterol levels, brain function, reproductive health, blood circulation
Carrots are one of those crops in high demand. Canadians eat around 15 pounds of Carrots a year. This is a very labour intensive crop that is profitable for small farmers who sell directly to consumers. You need deep soil that will allow the roots to grow down and full. Carrots are a low nitrogen feeder but as a root crop needs potassium. Store carrots in the bottom of fridge for weeks.
Carrots have a bright future. One small urban farmer we used to buy from suggested we should have a currency based on Carrots! So instead of saying “Good – As – GOLD”, you would say Good As Carrots. Just kidding. Carrots are a key strategic crop that I rely on to get my 6 a day.