CARROT 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.
Very 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.