In 2019, Farmer Lee Jones and Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute crowned mixed carrots as the Vegetable of the Year—and, at The Chef’s Garden, we continue to consider the carrot a royal treat. In fact, we grow such a beautiful variety of farm-fresh carrots that we decided to delve even more deeply into the reasons that Farmer Lee and Jamie lifted carrots onto the throne.
Bugs Bunny Endorses the Carrot
In other words, the Cartoon King wholeheartedly holds the carrot up as a scepter! That alone is an outstanding reason to enjoy this vegetable—but we’ll provide more of them, anyhow.
What Do Carrots Taste Like?
More than a thousand people ask that question on Google every year—and the simplest answer is that orange carrots are deliciously sweet with a hint of intriguing earthiness. That, answer, though, doesn’t consider the wide varieties of available carrots.
Cobalt carrots are deeply purple in hue and are slightly (and delightfully!) nutty. Another variety of purple-colored carrots, the dragon carrot, offers up an unexpectedly lovely herbal finish. Yellow carrots? They’re ideal when you want the sweetness, the nuttiness, but your dish doesn’t call out for an earthy ingredient. Mixed carrots, of course, allow you to revel in the rainbow of flavors while carrot blooms carry the flavor and aroma of carrots in a way that’s ideal for salsa, pesto, and more.
To add to the carrot flavor equation, varieties of fresh carrots have subtly different profiles when cooked than when raw. Enjoy!
You can use carrots in vegetable stock. Other carrot recipes for the plate and glass include:
Honey Glazed Carrots
Carrot Cake with Chevré Frosting
Fried Kalettes with Pickled Carrots and Romaine Lettuce
Mixed Green Salad with Shaved Root Vegetables
Soy Chili Glazed Carrots
Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad with Tahini Yogurt and Seeds
Chopped Salad with Radishes and Hard-Boiled Egg
Root Vegetable Tarte Tatin with BliS Gourmet
Carrot Romesco, Green Salad, Sweet Potato Chips
Carrot Honey Soup
Carrots with BliS Gourmet
Non-Alcoholic Gin and Carrot Cocktail
Spicy Carrot Margarita
Carrot Fuzzy Navel
Carrot Bloody Mary
Tropical Carrot Juice
Honey Roasted Carrot Sangria
This is an impressive list of carrot recipes, all by itself—and, if you keep reading, you’ll find another one later on by Chef Jamie.
Versatility of Carrot Shapes
Long carrots are amazing, a uniquely shaped vegetable that’s immediately recognizable. This familiarity triggers a wonderful sense of nostalgia, perhaps of peeling carrots with Grandma. (Note from Chef Jamie: You don’t need to peel carrots from The Chef’s Garden if you don’t want to. Just scrub.)
That said, diners appreciate surprises with round carrots being a less expected choice, a variety they aren’t likely to find in their grocery stores. Plus, round carrots are popular in France, making them the ideal Francophile touch in dishes.
Plus, carrots come in a wide variety of sizes, which allows you to paint the plate in just the size you need for desired visual appeal. Farmer Lee loves to watch people see their first-ever petite carrot. “First they taste them,” Lee says, “and they’re surprised at how these petite vegetables have all the flavor intensity of a full-sized carrot, but in a convenient bite-sized morsel. This gives chefs yet another opportunity to provide something pleasantly unexpected on the plate.”
Eat the Rainbow
Several months ago, we talked to experts about eating the rainbow—meaning to eat natural foods in a range of colors. This includes Dr. Gan Eng Cern with the following pedigree. He’s a physician and an ear, nose and throat surgeon, a member of the Royal College of Surgeons at Edinburgh, United Kingdom with Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Here’s what he had to say. Eating the rainbow via fruits and vegetables provide people with a “myriad of health benefits that will elevate our wellbeing. The nutrients and vitamins that plants manufacture on their own are what our bodies exactly need—and this ensures that they will be potent in improving, protecting, repairing, cleansing, and enhancing our bodies.”
He adds that, because we ask plenty from our bodies, each and every day, “it’s only right that we support and give back by sustaining them with a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables. This way, our bodies can continue to efficiently work in every way we demand them to, so we can keep up with our fast-paced modern lifestyles.”
Did you know that independent testing has verified that our regeneratively farmed crops have 300 to 600 percent more minerals than USDA baselines? Our fresh carrots, for example, significantly exceed carotene levels.
Carrots and Their Health Benefits
They’re so significant that we’ve dedicated an entire post to the health benefits of carrots. We encourage you to read the entire post (plus the one about eating the rainbow) if you’d like more info into how carrots fit perfectly into a healthy eating plan.
In this post, because we advocate using fresh vegetables from root to tip, we’ll also share Jamie’s delicious Carrot Puree—a carrot recipe that uses what many people simply throw away.
Remove carrot tops and set them aside for use later.
Poach carrots in a circulator along with some kind of fat (oil/butter).
Blend cooked carrots in a blender.
Remove the mixture from the blender.
Pass the mixture through chinois (a cone-shaped fine mesh sieve).
Remove air in a vacuum machine. This suctions air and compresses the pureed mixture inside a plastic pouch.
Poach white carrots in the circulator.
Blanch carrot tops.
Blend cooked white carrots in blender.
Add blanched carrot tops to blender, along with white carrots, and blend.
Pass the mixture through chinois.
Remove air in the vacuum machine.
Versatility is King
If you’re a fan of the movie Forrest Gump, you’ll surely remember the scene when Forrest’s friend Bubba named so many ways to enjoy shrimp that the filmmakers only used clips of his list. Well, that’s exactly how Farmer Lee can get when we ask him how many enjoyable ways you can prepare fresh carrots. He tends to start out like this:
At some point, he switches over to this kind of list:
You get the idea! Carrots are versatile, indeed.
History of Carrots
According to the Carrot Museum (yes, there really is a carrot museum—in the United Kingdom), people have been enjoying the vegetable for a really long time. The modern carrot, of course, came from the wild carrot, domesticated by long-ago farmers. In Ancient Greek and Roman times, they talked about a white-rooted vegetable that may have been an ancestor of what we call a carrot today (or it could have been a parsnip).
About 1,200 years ago, people wrote about eating purple and yellow carrots and, although they may well have grown orange ones, too, that didn’t show up in written form until about 1500. Originally grown in the Iranian Plateau and Persia in the 10th century, travelers brought carrots to Spain and then to the rest of Northern Europe.
By the time the Pilgrims arrived in what’s now the United States, some Native Americans were using wild carrots for medical purposes. By 1629, English settlers in the American Colonies were growing this vegetable from seeds they’d brought with them.
At The Chef’s Garden, we grow our vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature. Our goal is to farm as well as our grandparents and great-grandparents did as they balanced the physical, biological, and chemical health of their soil in the most optimal ways.
We treat our soil like its own treasured crop because the reality is that all life begins in soil. As our farm team builds up healthy soil, we then grow healthy crops that are bursting with flavor, nutrient dense for healthy people and a healthy planet.
We used to use the term “sustainable farming” when talking about how we grew vegetables, but now we use the phrase “regenerative farming.” Why? Because sustainable farming focuses on maintaining a stable ecosystem, with leaving the soil as healthy as when we first found it. Regenerative farming, though, is a process where we continue to improve our soil’s health so that the farm-fresh carrots you use in your dishes and menus are as flavorful and nutritious as they can possibly be
Order Your Farm-Fresh Carrots Today
Contact your product specialist to order the carrot varieties you want and need—or ask them what’s at the absolutely peak of fresh flavor in our fields today.
If you’re new to The Chef’s Garden, welcome! We’re glad you’ve chosen to join the top chefs and restaurants from around the world who use our exceptional specialty and heirloom vegetables, herbs, microgreens, and edible flowers—and who benefit from our outstanding red bow tie service. To get started, just fill out this credit application. Thank you for choosing us to be your personal farmer!