It’s hard being a carrot

carrot-world-1CARROT World is a ruthless place. An unacceptably-high proportion of carrots are considered to be misshapen and are rejected by the shops. They are loaded into cattle trucks and taken to an unknown fate in the east. Only carrots that pass the supermarket suitability test are offered to the public – this is an extremely narrow and subjective view on carrot quality. It’s like saying that only long, thin people with perfect shoulders and fake tans should populate the Earth. That’s been tried and it doesn’t work. But the rule is applied to carrots . . .

My first carrot crop in my new homeland of Spain has been exceedingly successful, and I’m pleased with that because I wasn’t expecting good results in this Mediterranean climate. Andalucia has had three baking-hot months without a drop of rain. But the carrots, along with other root vegetables – notably beetroot – have thrived.

carrot-world-2Very few of my carrots would pass supermarket scrutiny or the Rupert Murdoch IS-IT-REALLY-A-CARROT-BECAUSE IT DOESN’T LOOK ENGLISH? public suitability threshold. They are knobbly and ugly, and several are the wrong colour. If I attempted to ship them to England they would be stopped at Calais and put on a bus to a reception centre for rejected carrots in a corner of France where only poor people live.

But being a fully-inclusive producer, I have taken the misshapen carrots to my bosom because I am aware that, in the natural world, carrots, like people, do not fit one predetermined stereotype. Carrot beauty is in their fragrance and the delicate flavour they impart to dishes, not their physical characteristics.

carrot-world-3 carrot-world-6 carrot-world-5 carrot-world-4One day, Carrot World will wake up to reality and rid itself of its self-inflicted shame. Unless – and I suspect this might be the case – Carrot World is governed by cabbages.

carrot-world-7

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12 thoughts on “It’s hard being a carrot

  1. I’d go for the twisted and interestingly shaped ones if the supermarkets supplied them. Hopefully, when we’re no longer EU, all that nonsense will stop. Mind you, it might not as the supermarkets have just as silly views! Like when they tell us we like hard, unripe strawberries (‘cos they have a longer shelf life for the supermarket’s sake!) 😦

    I thought carrots liked pretty dry? we can never grow them here because of the wet, clay, badly-drained soil.

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    1. I’ve never been successful with carrots before because of carrot fly. And once they were all eaten underground by mice, who very thoughtfully left the stems sticking up to look like they were still growing.
      I wouldn’t hold your breath about EU regulations, Carol. I was once told by a shopworker that M&S insist all their runner beans are a certain length and dead straight, so I can’t see anything altering on that front. Someone should open an Ugly Vegetable Shop chain and start a craze.
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. I’m trying to remember whose television programme it was when the truth behind the carrot was revealed. Original British carrots were white or purple and it was the Dutch who introduced the orange carrot. (Was it Michael Portillo’s train programme?)

    Anyway, good on you for giving a home to the ugly pups of the carrot world. I’m sure all the misshapen specimens thought they had their lives ahead of them only to be devoured by folk who don’t mind eating a carrot that looks like something off the Ogrish website.

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    1. Hi Chris. Yes, you can buy packets of “heritage” carrot seeds and the carrots grow a dark purple. Sometimes ordinary carrots revert to their original purple, usually towards the top of the stem. And yes, I do believe it was the Dutch house of Orange that the orange carrot was developed for, or in honour of. I’m surprised no one has developed the red, white and blue Brexit carrot.
      I’m also surprised there hasn’t been a move to ban vegetables with obvious links to the EU, such as swedes, Brussels sprouts, savoy cabbages, French beans and Spanish onions. And Swiss chard for good measure.
      Cheers, Alen

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