The Carrot Year

British carrots are available in the shops for nearly 12 months of the year, from early to mid June when the new British season starts right through to May, and 95% of the carrots in our supermarkets are home grown, so if you’re keen to buy British then you’d better pop some carrots in your shopping basket.

Carrots are one of the most eco-friendly vegetables you can eat. Farmers Weekly gave them a carbon rating of just 45g of carbon per 1kg of carrots, compared to 80g for onions, 240g for potatoes and 15,000g for beef.

In the autumn, British carrot farmers start putting their crop “to bed” for the winter months by covering them with a thick layer of straw to protect them from the frost. This eco-friendly method of storage, takes place across large swathes of land in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Scotland. The earth becomes nature’s larder, keeping the crop fresh and ready for harvest throughout the winter, allowing farmers to provide the UK with an 11-month supply of carrots. Before farmers adopted this practice in the 1990s, carrots were predominantly a summer vegetable.

For a few months in the summer, sweet, tender and aromatic new season carrots are in the shops. You can find them between June and August. There is so much flavour packed into their skins, they simply need steaming or boiling gently for between three and five minutes (depending on how crunchy you like them). Their delicate flavour can be complimented with a little butter and orange zest, or tarragon and thyme. They’re also delicious simply eaten raw.

All carrots tend to be grown on free draining sandy soil. Traditionally carrots have been grown in the East of the country on the Norfolk Sands, the Fens region and up on the Lancaster peats. Over the years this has altered with Nottinghamshire and Scotland becoming important production areas.