|Carrots (Daucus Carota)
The carrot is a biennial plant which in its first year grows and stores energy in its tap root, which it then releases when it flowers in the second year. We actually eat that root, which is white not orange, in wild carrots. Carrots grow best in sandy soils like the ours at Bagthorpe, when their roots can easily tap into the soils nutrients.
Again like our potatoes we grow an early variety of carrots, typically ‘Nairobi’ which we aim to harvest around the end of June. Maincrops varieties we grow include Chantenay which are smaller, pointy and sweeter than your usual carrot.
Carrots were certainly grown by in Roman times and Wild Carrots with red of purple roots are still found in Afghanistan. Yellow carrots were first recorded in Turkey in the 10th century and grown in the rest of Europe, until the 17th Century when the orange carrot was developed in Holland. Perhaps that is why the Dutch have a bright orange football strip?
Carrots contain carotene which is metabolised into Vitamin A when consumed by us. They are also rich in anti-oxidants and minerals.
Did you know?
Contrary to popular belief carrots do not make you see in the dark. This myth was propagated in World War II by British Gunners who were able to shoot down German planes in the darkness of night during the Battle of Britain. The RAF claimed this was due to eating large amounts of carrots. Lack of Vitamin A can cause poor vision, and this can be restored by Vitamin A, ie eating carrots, however improved night-time vision is not a claim we can make today.