Growing up I had absolutely no idea that a carrot could be anything but long, skinny, and orange.
Turns out the ‘original’ carrot, first identified in present day Afghanistan, was long, thin, bitter and purple! A mutation resulted in the formation of the first yellow carrot, and from their orange carrots were developed.
Thanks to natural hybridization and the work of horticulturists, we now have a wide selection of deliciously sweet carrots, in a rainbow of colors and shapes, available at farmer’s markets.
Here are some of our favorite varieties from our favorite farms here in Southern California.
ChantenayAffectionately called “Bugs Bunny” carrots by Arroyo Grande, CA farmer Jerry Rutiz, this variety is super sweet and great for eating raw and juicing, but it’s also good in soups, salads, roasted, or grilled.
Atomic RedStrikingly beautiful and equally delicious.
Nante CarrotsThe sweetest, crispiest, most delicious carrot variety for eating raw.
Nante Carrot JuiceNever a fan of carrot juice because of it’s sweet/dirty flavor, but forever a fan of anything The Garden Of….. Farm creates, I recently tried their cold pressed carrot juice and was stunned at how delicious it was! I grabbed another sample, bought a jar, and proceeded to tell everyone around me how delicious it was and that they should buy some.
I know. If you don’t live in the Los Angeles or Santa Barbara area you can’t have this juice. I’m sorry.
But if you find a farmer that grows Nantes, or another sweet, crisp carrot variety that you love the flavor of, juice them and see how it turns out.
French MarketAlso known as Thumbelina carrots, this variety is sweet, wonderful roasted, and obviously cute as a button.
Bored with your usual carrot preparations?Here are some unique flavors you may not have tried with carrot before.
- Dried Chile Peppers
- Jalepeno or other fresh peppers
- Lemon Verbena
- Mustard and Mustard Seed
- White Wine