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Information @ a Glance

 General
  • Carrots are members of the parsley family, characterized by the feathery green leaves. Other members include parsnips, fennel, dill and celery. The edible root of the carrot  plant can be either orange, purple, maroon, yellow or white. The first carrots were cultivated in Afghanistan and then brought to the Mediterranean area more than 2000 years ago. The typical orange carrot available in all U.S. supermarkets is a descendant of Dutch-bred carrots, which have been grown in the U.S. since the 1600s.

  • When selecting, look for carrots that are uniform in color from top to bottom and whose skin is smooth and free of cracks. The carrots may be slightly green at the crown but a dark coloring at the crown indicates that the carrots are getting old. Generally the carrots found readily available are long and slender but there are also varieties that are short and fat.

Process

  • The logistics of production, harvest, transport and ripening dictate that many fruits must be held prior to juicing. The seasonal harvest window may be much shorter than the time required processing the entire annual crop and stabilizing the resulting juice and finished products. As with the aforementioned steps, careful holding is necessary to allow  optimum ripening to occur or prevent spoilage and contamination.

  • International visitors to modern juice processing facilities are often in awe of the elegant, sophisticated, costly operations they view, unaware or forgetting the tremendous investment in human capital required to arrive at that point.

Technology

  • Finding effective techniques to control nematodes and soil-borne diseases is of the most immediate concern to carrot growers in California. The availability of fumigants, especially replacement products for metam sodium and metam potassium is a critical need for the industry, and an aggressive research program should help identify new techniques and products to be registered.

  • Breeding programs should identify new carrot varieties which are resistant to nematodes and diseases. Disease monitoring tools, models, and new management techniques are needed for diseases caused by Alternaria and Pythium. New products are needed for weed control as well.

Market

  • Soil fumigation is critical to fresh carrot production in California. It is often required to reduce root-knot nematode populations sufficiently to maintain profitable levels of production. Tel one II is the preferred material for nematode control but the total amount of Tel one II applied in California is legally limited. There is also limit per township which leads to shortages in carrot production areas.

  • The United States produces 8 percent of the world’s carrots--second behind China and just ahead of Russia. According to the Census of Agriculture, carrots were produced on 1,865 farms. Fresh-market carrots account for 72 percent of all U.S. carrot output. California  accounted for 76 percent of the fresh-market carrot crop, followed by Colorado (6 percent) and Michigan. USDA  production statistics group fresh-cut products with fresh-market statistics.

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