I’m not really going to write a love poem to a bag of vegetables, but I do want to express my overwhelming taste crush for a carrot found only here in the northland.
I love the Food Farm carrots.
The Food Farm is a small, family owned organic farm in Wrenshall, Minnesota. According to their website, it grows a variety of produce for area markets, restaurants and farm shares. While I can’t speak for their other fruits and vegetables, their carrots are mouth-watering magic.
I don’t know how the Food Farm does it. Even the best farmer’s market carrots have a small hint of flavor and offer a nice “pop” on a first bite. They’re good but not great. For the most part it’s satisfying and healthy filler food. Baby carrots can be a step up with their compact size and peel-free convenience, but they also turn tasteless and boring after a quick handful.
Comparing Costa Rican corporate carrots to Minnesota grown Food Farm carrots is like comparing frozen pizza to sausage and mushroom pies made in Naples, Italy.
Food Farm carrots taste like fresh spring water with a sweet and satisfying whiff of sugar. They snap with authority on first bite and have a full crunch – almost as big as dry roasted peanuts – on follow-up chews. Their density and texture is perfect, like sweet corn cooked by your 85-year-old grandma in Iowa.
Now I eat carrots almost every day. Raw. For lunch. Peeled and sliced in long & elegant quarter-pipes or short & stubby half-pipes. I like their flavor, but I like the action even more. Carrots snap to attention, rumble around your mouth and go down easy. The perfect compliment to a fresh sandwich.
Thanks to Food Farm carrots my lunchtime ritual now comes with a little celebration each afternoon. But I fear this celebration is going to end soon.
You see Food Farm eventually runs out of carrots each fall. The growing season on the northern tundra is about as long as golf season in Alaska. Last year, Food Farm carrots disappeared from the Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth (not the expensive national chain store) over the winter. One day the shelves showed only bags of rough-looking “seconds.” The next day nothing.
I asked a produce worker what happened to the “good” carrots.
“They run out every year,” she said. “We were pretty happy that they lasted as long as they did.”
Maybe this year Food Farm planted more.
I checked in at the store today and shelves are still fully stocked. A two-pound bag of orange gold is selling for $3.69.
I was recently tasked with bringing an appetizer to Nicklawske family Thanksgiving feast. My brother, who is hosting the event, wants me to bring a shrimp tray. Good idea. But I’m going to bring something better: Food Farm carrots.
Everyone will love them.