Fermes Leclair et Frères Ltée.
Carrots are undeniably one of the world’s most popular vegetables. First cultivated some 3,000 years ago and belonging to the Apiaceae family, they generally have a striking orange colour, although in recent years multicoloured varieties have been gaining in popularity. Fun fact: carrots were originally purple, white or yellow.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, and also contain vitamins B, C, D, E and K as well as being rich in potassium and other minerals. For optimum nutrient absorption, the best way to eat a carrot is to simply wash it and eat it, peel and all! The story goes that during World War II, soldiers were told to eat carrots because they were believed to improve night vision.
Carrots are delicious and crunchy, are perfect for use in a variety of recipes, and can be eaten raw or cooked. With their slightly sweet taste, carrots are a great help to parents looking for ways to get their kids to choose veggies over other, less healthy foods. A further plus: carrots are available in grocery stores year-round, are economical, and keep really well in the refrigerator.
Originally grown in the Loire Valley, Nantes carrots are smaller, with a rounded shape. Their smaller size is due in part to the very-high-density sowing techniques used. They are sweeter and much appreciated for their taste, but also because they contain less fibre and have hardly any core: the slightly bitter, darker “heart” of traditional carrots. Nantes carrots are great for snacking, and always delicious whether cooked whole, eaten raw or added to any recipe that inspires you. Fermes Leclair currently grows the orange variety of Nantes carrots, and packages them for sale in 454 g (1 lb) trays as well as in 4.54 kg (10 lb) and 11.36 kg (25 lb) bags. They will keep for several weeks if stored in a cool, dry place with the bag slightly opened.
Long and slender and produced mainly from the Imperator cultivar, our leafy carrots are picked fresh by hand. We then wash and ship them within hours of harvest to preserve that great garden taste and crunchy texture, and because they are sold unpackaged and dry out faster.
The whole point of leafy carrots is that the entire plant is edible! A simple rinse brings the subtle flavours of the tops to the fore. Rich in chlorophyll, vitamins B9 and C, and antioxidants, the leaves are delicious in soups, smoothies, pesto and green salads. To preserve freshness, it’s best to cut the tops off before storing the carrots; otherwise the leaves will draw all the moisture and cause the root part to dry out quickly.
Leafy carrots are in markets from July to mid-October.