Little-Known Facts about Carrots that Will Make You Go “What’s Up Doc?”

Did you know that ancient Romans and Greeks ate carrots, but not the orange varieties we know today? They ate wild varieties of various other colors, such as purple, red, white, and yellow.

Fresh Carrot Juice Glass With Fresh Organic Carrots

In the 17th century, orange carrots as we know them, first appeared in the Netherlands. Dutch farmers invented the orange carrot in honor of the “House of Orange”, the Dutch Royal Family. The orange color results from beta-carotene, which is a red-orange pigment found in some plants and fruits.

Carrots contain quite the nutritious punch. The most widely known health benefit of carrots is that they contribute to good vision. This is because our bodies turn beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is important for the health of vision (including night vision), and carrots are one of the best sources for beta-carotene.  The vitamin A is also important to the health of our bones, skin, and teeth.

Carrots are known to have many medicinal properties. Eating carrots can aid the body in repairing damaged cells. They also can be used as an antiseptic for skin wounds, and very effectively clean your mouth from bacteria.

Other little-known facts about carrots include:

  • Just a handful of baby carrots or one medium carrot counts as one serving of your daily veggies.
  • Carrots are a good source of fiber, which means they are good for the digestive system.
  • Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6 are also found in carrots, as well as several minerals like magnesium and calcium.
  • The purple pigments of the purple carrots are called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins act as anti-oxidants that protect the body.
  • Including carrots in your diet when breast feeding helps to improve breast milk production.
  • A carrot is 87% water, so consuming them can help you to be sure your body is getting an adequate amount of H2O.
  • Out of all vegetables, it’s no surprise that carrots have the largest content of vitamin A (beta carotene). 100 grams of carrot will give you 104% of the recommended daily dose.
  • 30% of American Vitamin A intake comes from carrots.
  • One glass of milk contains the same amount of calcium as in 9 carrots.
  • One carrot gives you the energy to walk one mile!

As you can see it is very beneficial to make sure carrots are a part of our diets. However, it is true that eating massive amounts of carrots can sometimes cause a person’s skin to turn yellowish orange. This is a condition called carotenemia and is most noticeable on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. It requires an extremely high amount of carrot consumption to get carotenemia, so it is not very common, and it is completely reversible by just reducing carrot intake.

Carrots can be eaten in various different ways. You can eat them raw, they are delicious dipped in hummus or ranch. Carrots are often boiled, baked, fried, grated, juiced, mashed, pulped, pureed, and steamed. Carrots are also often used in stir-fries and salads. They can also be dehydrated to make chips, powder, and flakes. Even the carrots greens are edible, but consumption is rare.

In western countries, the natural sweetness and sugars of carrots allow them to be used in decadent desserts like carrot cake. Portugal is known to use carrots in jam, and in India they are used in many deserts. Around the world carrot juice is widely consumed, especially as a health drink, with or without other fruits and vegetables.  You can try them in one of the several recipes that we have collected here on FillYourPlate.org.

In 2004, carrots were ranked as the seventh most valuable crop grown in the United States. California is our top fresh carrot producer, and Washington is the top grower of carrots meant for canning and processing. However, Arizona carrot production is nothing to sneeze at. The Rousseau Family Farms is our largest carrot farmer producing on average 42,000,000 pounds of carrots each year which are then sold to grocers all over the United States (including Arizona). The average American eats around 10.6 lbs. of fresh carrots a year, so the carrots grown at Rousseau Family Farms alone can feed around 3,962,264 people in a year!

There really are quite a bit of carrot facts. Here are some more!

  • Mel Blanc (the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots!
  • Baby carrots aren’t actually babies. A baby carrot comes from a large carrot that was rolled over blades and thrown around in a metal cage to be rubbed down into a round-ended, short baby carrot.
  • Out of all of the vegetables, only the beet contains more natural sugars than carrots.
  • One teaspoon can hold 2000 carrot seeds.
  • In 17th century England, carrot leaves were often carried in the hair as a fashion statement.
  • Carrots were first introduced to America in 1607 with the first settlers who landed in Jamestown, however they did not become a very popular food until soldiers returned from WWI after having constant contact with them.
  • Wild rabbits don’t eat wild carrots.
  • The heaviest carrot recorded weighed 18.985 lbs.
  • The longest carrot recorded was nearly 17 feet long.

Rousseau Family Farms, though our largest carrot producer, is not the only place you can go to enjoy locally grown carrots. When you visit Fill Your Plate, you can click on “Find a Farm Product” and type in carrots, and a list of local growers will pop up. You can then choose a grower closest to you.  You can also buy fresh Arizona-grown carrots from Rousseau Family Farms, most likely, at your local grocery store.

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National Picnic Day

April 23rd is National Picnic Day.  For centuries people have enjoyed eating their meals outside in the beauty of nature-what we call a “picnic”.

Family Picnic

Our modern-day idea of a picnic evolved from medieval hunting feasts and Victorian garden parties. These were usually quite sophisticated affairs, which involved multiple courses and elaborate preparations. The word “picnic” dates back to 1692, France, where “piquenique” was used in referring to a group of people eating together and bringing their own wine.

In the early 19th century, wealthy citizens in London formed “The Picnic Society” to promote social gatherings. Their picnics were potlucks, and everyone attending was required to provide some form of entertainment. They would enjoy the music of a live string quartet while drinking from crystal goblets and eating their meal. Today, the word “picnic” paints a different picture. Today’s picnics are a much more casual affair consisting of a light meal in which the food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of finger food, salad, deli sandwiches, fresh fruit, cold meats and is often accompanied by chilled champagne or wine or soft drinks, and enjoyed on a comfortable picnic blanket.

Picnics can be as simple, elegant, or romantic as you would like. They don’t have to be an elaborate affair that requires a lot of planning or money. Here is a list of what you need to enjoy a meal outdoors with your near and dear ones:

  • Depending on whether or not your picnic location has tables, you will need either a picnic blanket or table cloth.
  • To transport your goodies you will need a picnic basket and a cooler and ice packs to keep things cool.
  • If you plan on barbequing, you may want to bring a portable grill, or be sure a grill is available at your location.
  • For barbequing purposes you will want to be sure to include matches or a lighter in your packing. Those will also come in handy for candles if you plan on a more romantic setting.
  • You will also need the proper eating utensils, plates, napkins, and maybe even wipes (in case anything is sticky).
  • Sunscreen and insect repellant are also useful.
  • In case your location does not have a proper trash receptacle you should bring garbage bags to make sure you don’t leave any trash behind.
  • Other options would be some kind of portable stereo for music and a Frisbee or some other outdoor game to play depending on the kind of outing you wish to have.

Here are a few recipes from Fill Your Plate that would be good to try on your next picnic:

 

So put together your favorite portable, mouth-watering meal, and some sort of music and games, and head outdoors to your favorite spot and celebrate National Picnic Day.

 

 

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Golden Rule Vineyards Wine Release Party

When you think “vineyard”, Arizona probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. But nestled cozily in Cochise County is the Golden Rule Vineyards. They are a company that was founded on the key principle of family owned and family operated agriculture and, since 2007, viticulture.  Always one to support our local growers and producers, we wanted to extend an invitation to their next Music and Wine Release Party.
Golden Rule Vineyard Wine

Photo: Golden Rule Vineyards

Golden Rule Vineyards would like for you to join them May 1st for an evening of music, wine, food, and fun. Bring your friends and family for a night to relax and socialize.

 

  • Where:

Golden Rule Vineyards

3525 N. Golden Rule Rd.

Cochise, AZ 85606

 

  • Time:

4:30 – 8:30 PM

 

  • Wine Release:

2014 Copper Queen Rosé

Will also have glasses of select 2011 and 2012 reds.

 

  • Music:

Nathan Hinojosa & Chris Kranyak

Nathan is based out of the live music capital of the world, Austin Texas. He has a passion for many genres of music including flamenco, jazz, reggae, and funk. Nathan’s guitar playing is heavily influenced by Daft Punk, Jamiroqaui, Ottmar Liebert, and Raul Midon. His first album & tour released April 2nd, 2015.

 

  • Food:

Belle’s Cafe.

 

Be sure to submit an RSVP by April 27th to reserve food, as a very limited number of meals will be available at the door for purchase. To RSVP: Call the Golden Rule Vineyards at (520) 507-3310, E-Mail: Wine@GoldenRuleVineyards.com, or RSVP Online.

 

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Earth Day Event by Sassi Ristorante

In celebration of Earth Day, Chef Christopher Nicosia and Sassi Ristorante would like to invite you to join them Wednesday, April 22nd, at 6:00 PM in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak.

Chef Christopher is creating a raviolo with the borage grown specifically for him by Pat Duncan. To take a look at the evening’s menu, you can click here.

The cost is $110 each person, 5 courses are included as well as wine, serving charges and sales tax. Prepaid reservations can be made at www.sassi.biz, or call (480) 502-9095.

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Non-Profit Recruiting and Certifying Arizona Teachers

We here at the Arizona Farm Bureau and Fill Your Plate understand the importance of education for Arizona’s children, which is why we offer our Agriculture in the Classroom program.

Chalkboard 2013

As advocates of education we felt it important to help promote a cause that has been recently brought to our attention.

Currently, Arizona is experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers. A non-profit organization, The American Board, is dedicated to addressing teacher shortages both in Arizona and across the country. The American Board is an education 501(c)3 non-profit that offers an Arizona Department of Education-sanctioned route to teacher certification. You are pre-qualified for the program simply by having a bachelor’s degree, and can be teaching in the classroom within the year.

This month, The American Board is hosting free live information sessions at the following locations:

 

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Knoles Elementary School – Room 14

4005 E. Butler Avenue

Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Choose either session: 4:15 pm or 5:15 pm.

 

  • Thursday, April 23, 2015

Prescott Public Library

Elsea Conference Room

215 E. Goodwin St.

Prescott, AZ 86303

Choose either session: 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm.

 

  • Thursday, April 23, 2015

Century Library – Meeting Room

1750 E. Highland Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85016

Choose either session: 5:00pm or 6:00pm.

 

For information on upcoming sessions and to register, visit the American Board website at http://abcte.org/

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