“I’ve never eaten a carrot like this in my life.” Sunday Afternoon Guest to the Farm, Age 82.
I may be aging myself, but do you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoons? Bugs Bunny was always chomping on a fresh-pulled carrot. But now it seems carrots mostly come perfectly peeled and cleaned and cut into cute little baby sized pieces and tucked into cute little plastic bags.
On the farm, that’s not at all what carrots look like. They come straight from the ground, covered in beautiful rich soil. They are very seldom perfect, sometimes orange, sometimes white, sometimes purple and, at first glance, not very appetizing looking. But wash and scrub them and they are a gorgeous bundle of the riches the earth is capable of producing. And I won’t even begin to go into the taste differences between bagged “baby” carrots and real carrots.
A few weeks ago Mark and I went to Blue Hill at Stone Barns. A mecca for farm and food enthusiasts, it was a delightful and delicious experience. First course: raw baby carrots set on the table like a prized accomplishment. We giggled a bit at the presentation, but I get it now. We need to honor the simple carrot. It is a brilliant and tasty reminder of what real food looks like and tastes like.
So last Sunday, as we were walking thru the garden at Miramar Farms with our 82-year old friend, Claire, I shared a taste of this and that along the way—including carrots and beans and broccoli. And Claire stopped cold at the taste of a fresh carrot. I was so struck by her reaction and the simple joy she experienced. It brought me back to the Blue Hill dining experience, and it made me want to bring that same joy to more people.
So here I am writing this post, and my point is simple: Eat more real food. It’s pretty easy to do. Shop at farmer’s markets or farm stands when you can, or opt for real vegetables at the grocery store. Avoid produce in boxes, bags, and other plastic containers. Instead, go for the real deal: heads of dewy lettuce, beautiful golden beets, and carrots, radishes, and beets with leafy green tops.
Yes, taking care of these vegetables at home is a tiny bit more work, but your taste buds and your body and the earth will thank you. Because all sort of great things can happen when we think a bit more about what we put in our body—as well as the ground that it came from.
 The baby carrots you buy in grocery stores come from deformed crooked big carrots. They are put through a machine to become small cocktail carrots and then soaked in large vats of water mixed with chlorine to preserve them.