Root Vegetable Spotlight: Winter Carrots

Carrots are cleaned in the roots washer.

ICF has been known for their carrots over the years. Members consistently tell us, verbally and on surveys, that carrots top their list of favorite crops.

We plant two varieties of carrots, each suited for a different season and purpose. “Yaya” carrots are the summer and early fall variety you have been enjoying.
”Bolero” is the variety we prefer as our winter carrot as it stores well for long periods. Both Yaya and Bolero were developed by the Dutch company Bejo Seeds.

The Yaya carrots tend to be a bit smaller, tenderer, and milder-flavored compared to the Bolero. But the same high water content that makes the Yaya more delicate works against them in storage. The Bolero, while a bit more toothsome in their crunch, maintain their sugar, flavor and crispy texture much longer than the Yaya when stored at the proper temperature and humidity. We source carrots from High Mowing Seeds in Wolcott, VT, and Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. If you’d like to read more details about storing carrots, see Johnny’s suggestions here.

Carrots are packed in 25 lb bags.

We started harvesting and processing the winter carrots in mid-October. The carrots are topped, put through the roots washer, packed into 25 lb bags, and stored in bulk bins in our large coolers. The bags have air holes in them so moisture doesn’t build up. Because of the storage method, we’ll have crunchy carrots for you right through May.

This year we harvested 15,000-17,000 pounds of Bolero carrots for winter storage. That a lot of bags of beta-carotene!

After the carrots are washed and bagged, they are stored in the large cooler next to the winter share pick-up bay. We used to keep them in bulk bins, but a few years ago we built cribs to store the bags. Air circulates better around the taller structure and the cribs help us pack the cooler more efficiently.