April 25, 2014

A Carrot Story & Contest

In this week's Farm News, I mentioned a little something about a carrot contest. After you root around our carrot story and enjoy a few photos from our fields, leave us a comment or two with your creative carrot name or story! If you have one of the best comments, there just may be some "carrots" in it for ya!

Carrots - Really Good Ones!
FARM NEWS April 28 - May 2nd, 2014

Thad Showing Carrots Growing
Sneak Peak of our Carrots Growing
The sweet smell of carrots fills the air surrounding the field that we have broken open for the carrot harvest. Beautiful, sweet, crunchy and tender carrots are organized on the bed in two lines, each with their roots pointing toward the center of the row. Their green tops hang down into the furrow. The group of people who have plucked the carrots from the soil work quickly, keeping up with the tractor that is running a blade below the roots of the carrots to loosen the soil.

Carrots in my hand on the left are almost ready for harvest.
Carrots in my hand on the right still have a ways to go.
A second crew bunches the carrots, shaking off as much of the residual loam soil that still clings to the root before banding a bunch together with a twist tie and putting them into a reusable plastic container that is destined for the packing house where the last of the soil will be washed from the gems.

The team treats the carrots with great care. These carrots are SUPER SWEET because they have lots of natural sugars in them, which also make them delicate and prone to easily snapping in two.

Big Carrots, Little Carrots
Carrots Just Starting To Grow
The key to amazing carrots is simple – the variety. Most carrots grown are selected to grow large, straight, last a long time and to not break during the harvest, packing and transportation process – ever notice how bendy some carrots are? The oversight in this process is that characteristics like taste and texture are ignored.

We grow a variety called Nantes, named from the place in France where humans first bred really good-tasting carrots. The seed is the secret to our amazing carrots, but seeds need to be put into the right circumstances to thrive.

Thad Holding Carrot Seeds
Carrot Seeds

We work our carrot soil deep, taking care to ensure that the carrot root can easily make its way eight plus inches into the soil. Beds are made perfectly smooth and a special seeder is used to precisely seed each bed with six lines of seeds, separated by 3/4 of an inch down each line. The result is a plant population of nearly one million carrots per acre!

Sprinkler and Carrot Crop

These little seeds are irrigated with overhead sprinklers on a schedule that is customized to the stage of the carrots growth. Carrots are slow to germinate, taking almost two weeks to get out of the ground. We take lots of care to ensure that we have grown and removed as many weeds as possible before the carrots are planted, and the weed seeds that do germinate are pulled out by hand. Once the carrots get established, their tops easily cover the bed, absorbing the beautiful sunshine and delivering it to the roots.

Our Farm Fresh Carrots
Freshly Picked Farm Fresh To You Carrots
The last step in the process is to wash the carrots and to place a band around the carrots themselves to minimize the jostling that can shatter the precious roots. I know that I often find a tip of a carrot in the bottom of my Farm Fresh To You box and have no problems eating it before the rest of my family can get to it! Over the years, I’ve heard some great stories and names for our carrots. I know some of you ration them out, one per family member, not forgetting the dog. Others have called them "Candy Carrots."

Thad and Lola
Lola Helps Me Show Off Our Carrot Seeds

Carrot Contest!

Enter our carrot contest by leaving your creative carrot comments on this blog post below. Enter as many times as you'd like before Friday, May 9th, at 8:00 p.m.

I've shared our carrot story - what's yours?
Can you come up with a good name for our carrots?  

On Monday, May 12th, we'll pick the 3 best carrot comments and announce the winners here on our blog post and by responding to the email included with your comment. 

Winners will receive a credit to their Farm Fresh To You account. 
1st Place: $31.50 - 2nd Place: $20.00 - 3rd Place: 15.00. 
Thanks for playing along and good luck!

No purchase required to enter giveaway. No limit on the number of entries. Entries will close on Friday, May 9th at noon. Three total winners, (1) $31.50, (1) $20.00 and (1) $15.00 winner will be chosen by merit of comment and announced on Monday, May 12, 2014 on this blog post and via email included with winning comment. Email addresses shared in the comment will not be displayed publicly and will not be used for any purpose other than to notify the winner. 

*Prizes are not redeemable for cash and can only be redeemed for use on Farm Fresh To You deliveries. Contest is open to Farm Fresh To You members and California residents who are eligible to receive a Farm Fresh To You delivery by being over the age of 18 and by living in our delivery area. Check our Delivery Areas here. 

Thank you for all the wonderful stories and name suggestions.  
We are so impressed and flattered!

Congratulations to all our winners!

1st Place: Rhea who said: Nantes Your Average Carrot. 

2nd Place: Liz who said: When we moved into our home 16 years ago, we quickly discovered that our next door neighbor was not just a gardener, but a farmer. He was a retired railroad engineer who grew enough produce on his extra 1/2 lot to feed the entire block. Steve grew many things, but he was best known for his carrots. He swore that Nantes Red were the best variety, and you couldn't stop by his house without digging up a few to take home. All the neighborhood kids loved "Steve's carrots". On Halloween he would make a special bag for each child on the block containing a piece or two of candy and several sweet Nantes carrots! Steve passed away this spring, aged 98, and we miss him sorely. However, thanks to Farm Fresh To You, we are still able to enjoy "Steve's" carrots. He was right. They really are the best.

3rd Place: Yvonne who said: These are truly the most delicious carrots I've ever purchased and can't bring myself to cook them, usually savoring one (or 1/2) after dinner. I'd say they are like "diamonds in the rough" and "worth their weight in gold" so how about Capay's "Kandy Karats".

Congratulations Rhea, Liz and Yvonne!