How ‘Bout These Babies
Many people aren’t aware that so-called “baby” carrots aren’t really babies at all. They’re neither particularly small or young, but they are very different than standard, or as they are called in the business, fresh carrots. First introduced in 1989, they are bred to be long and slender, then cut into 2-inch pieces and lathed to a uniform width. To say they revolutionized the carrot business is putting it mildly, as today they are the most popular type of carrots.
Of course, they’re not really a “variety type” at all, but most often different varieties are used to produce baby carrots than fresh carrots, explains Grimmway’s Todd Brendlin. In a processed carrot they are looking more for a straight to cylindrical shape versus the traditional tapering cone shape found in a fresh carrot. The carrots used to produce baby carrots have been bred to be much slimmer and longer.
“We want them to compete with each other so they don’t get broad shouldered,” he says. “The plant populations are higher, about double the number of plants per acre as for fresh carrots.” (Brendlin declines to state exactly how many “baby” carrots are planted per acre, saying that such information is proprietary. The baby carrots might be cute, but the competition among their producers is fierce.)