Friend of The Food Geek, Angela, asks via Twitter
The things that you get in the grocery store in a big bag that look kind of like orange thumbs that they call baby carrots are not, in fact, baby carrots. Real baby carrots are the things that you get occasionally at a good grocery store but more usually at a farmer’s market that look like regular carrots, but smaller.
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Orange-thumb carrots are a manufactured product. You start with big carrots (sometimes very big carrots) and dump them into a machine. The next time you see them, they are the wee thumbs. It’s almost Seussian, but without all of the interesting horns and bellows that would make for a truly fantastic machine.
Part of the problem with these carrots is that they are bred for growth rather than flavor. Part of the problem is that a great deal of the flavor is closer to the surface (though not right on the surface). Part of the problem is that the more surface you have exposed to the air, the more flavor you will lose over time, and most of what you’re doing with the orange-thumb machine is exposing a greater percentage of the carrot to the air. Part of the reason is that picking a carrot and eating it quickly is going to give you more flavor than shipping it across the world and eating it after it’s sat in a store. And, finally, part of the reason is that things you grow are just going to taste better because you grew them. As it should be.