After supper tonight, Eric asked if anyone wanted a cold fresh carrot to snack on. “Yes” was the unified response from all corners of the house so five carrots were quickly retrieved from the cellar, washed, and deposited to eager hands. Happy crunching could be heard all around. What a treat! We don’t always manage to successfully grow fall carrots. In July, during the heat of the summer, is when we usually try to get our carrot beds established. Weeds and unpredictable summer weather are always a factor then, especially for the slow to germinate carrot. This year I’m not sure if our success with fall carrots was lucky timing or Eric’s determined drive to have this crop in abundance and therefore planted literally thousands upon thousands of seeds. I’m thinking it’s the latter, because we did lose lots to weeds, or not so stellar germination, or pounding rain that over-compacted the soil for the tender carrot, or whatever else. But we still managed to harvest enough to give to our CSA shareholders several times; to add liberally to both of our batches of kimchi; to snack on with wild abandon; and to store… yes, store, in the cellar for our winter eating. Most years, when we do have a fall crop of carrots, the autumn rains descend on the gardens before we have the chance to actually dig all of them at once. Then the deer move in and eat the tops down into the dirt and the voles make their little chew marks where they can, leaving us with muddy half-eaten carrots to harvest which maybe isn’t the most fun, but we do it because it is still food after all. But this year, we were on the ball enough, and the weather was cooperative enough, to have a couple of focused carrot harvesting days. Our final patch of carrots was the grand finale for us. This particular row yielded the biggest, most beautiful carrots ever to be lifted from our Bugtussle soil. The children couldn’t resist getting involved in the digging either, it was such fun. There were contests for the biggest carrot and the funniest carrot. Carrot houses were built and split carrots became toy boats for some of Livi’s little critters. And, of course, carrots were wiped off as best as possible on my already dirty pant legs to be devoured right on the spot. Pure. Carrot. Bliss.
And now the fun really begins. I’m feeling so much culinary excitement towards the dear carrot, I can hardly take it. Opal’s birthday is in a few days, I think I’ll try to convince her that a carrot cake is the best option. I bet if I promise to add some form of chocolate to the recipe, she’ll be sold on the idea!