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 refer to as our winter carrot and it stores well for long periods. Both Yaya and Bolero were developed by the Dutch company Bejo Seeds.
The early spring and summer carrots tend to be a bit smaller, more tender, more sweet than the winter variety. But the spring carrots don’t store well for long periods because of their natural sugar, so we grow a winter variety for our long-term storage. While there is still a sweetness to them, they stay crisp much longer when stored at the proper temperature and humidity. Usually we get our carrot seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine. If you’d like to read more details about storing carrots, see their suggestions here.
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.