This post is sponsored by Bolthouse Farms® and SHE Media.
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Bolthouse Farms® in San Joaquin Valley, CA. They have been growing carrots since 1915, which coincidentally is the same year my 100 year old home was built. I have to be honest, I knew nothing about carrots prior to this visit. Although I do remember learning in third grade that carrots were good for your eyes (and given my eyesight, I probably should have remembered that important carrot fact).
So why did I visit a carrot farm? Lately, I have been reading a ton about eating healthy, and I knew this tour would teach me a lot. The day was fascinating (and very hot), and I learned a lot about carrots and the tasty carrot juice made by Bolthouse Farms®.
Our day started in the carrot fields, and yes, I did taste a carrot straight from the ground. It was delicious. (And I did kind of clean it, I promise!). I should have asked why the carrots I grow at home look all gnarly and tangled. But I was too shy since every carrot they grow is perfect! Did I mention they are delicious too?
So here is carrot fact #1.
80% of the carrots consumed in the US are grown in California.
Say what? I know every time I drive up the 5 Freeway to Northern California I see fields and fields of produce growing like crazy. But I had no idea so many carrots were grown here. Carrot production is regional, and Bolthouse Farms® grows carrots in six different regions in California. They also grow them in Georgia, Washington, and Canada. Interestingly, there is no difference in taste by region.
One of the things I love about Bolthouse Farms® is their statement “We believe making one better choice each day is something we can all do. We’ve promised to use fewer ingredients that people don’t want. And more of the ones they do. Many of our products have no artificial flavors and no artificial preservatives.” That made me so happy because lately, I have read so much about all of the harmful additives that are in our food.
Carrot fact #2
Baby carrots aren’t really baby carrots. They are a bunch of small carrots cut from larger carrots.
Huh? This really surprised me. But if you think about it, it makes sense. Why would you grow a two-inch carrot when you can grow a 14″ carrot and cut them into a bunch of smaller carrots? In fact, Bolthouse Farms® get 6 – 7 baby carrots out of one large carrot. We spent a lot of time in the plant and saw millions of pounds of carrots going from the carrots that come out of the ground to the bags of carrots we buy in the grocery store. Four million pounds of carrots are bagged every single day in the Bolthouse Farms® plant. That fact blew me away.
I was impressed by the simplicity and cleanliness of the plant and the process they use from field to factory to bottle. There were a gazillion rules that we had to follow on our plant tour such as no jewelry, gloves had to cover all nail polish, and we were covered in gear like this! Yes, that is me hiding under all that gear. How do you like the hair net?
Carrot fact #3
Rainbow carrots are delicious and each color of carrot has different nutritional values.
The way to get rainbow carrots is to plant different color varieties in the same field. And the carrots are harvested with this huge piece of machinery. The color also depends on how the vegetable is grown. The color is based on the time of year the seed is planted, weather conditions, the condition of the soil, and the amount of sun and water the seed receives. Farmers know how to plant and cultivate the carrots they want by abiding by those conditions. We rode on the carrot harvester and it really does the job well!
The planting process is very well planned and monitored. (That’s probably why the carrots taste so good.) I was surprised to learn that if a carrot is too big and over-mature it won’t taste good. There is a 3-year rotation for growing carrots on the same field so that the field doesn’t get diseased. I also move the vegetables grown in my raised flower beds in my back yard. I am so happy to know I am doing at least one thing right!
Carrots are different colors because of their pigment. The orange color is due to carotenes and yellow due to anthocyanins.
Carrot Fact #4
Carrot juice actually tastes really good.
Bolthouse Farms® makes a very good Carrot Juice. It’s all about growing sweet, flavorful carrots, with antioxidant Vitamin A. I guess you could call it the delicious essence of Bolthouse Farms® carrots in a bottle. There is no added sugar, no artificial flavors, and no artificial preservatives. In fact, it’s American Heart Health certified. We tasted it and I loved it.
Carrot Fact #5
The largest carrot ever recorded weighed 18.985 pounds.
I am pretty confident that it tasted pretty awful. We learned at Bolthouse Farms® that growing carrots is a very calculated science and size is not better!