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December and still local

December 29, 2016

When we started writing for the web last spring, we intended to update folks weekly, but then —there was our move of some of our fields to Houlton, the arctic spring, the drought, well, you get the idea. . . There was also the time invested in the smashing success of our Workplace FarmShares.

Our gratitude is enormous for all of our customers large and small who stuck with us over the course of a difficult farming season.
Now, the harvest is in, and, now, we are thinking about CARROTS. We have a bumper crop of great Maine carrots and parsnips and potatoes, as well as absolutely perfect cranberries from Sugar Hill in Washington County.

So as we are sitting in Newport thinking about carrot cake, carrot muffins, pot roast, New England boiled dinners, we are faced with the reality of California carrots, lots of them. And being the old Mainers that we are, we are we are puzzling over why the California competition is so tough.

We’ve been researching. Five years ago, Mother Jones reported on what they called “the California Vegetable Behemoth”—suggesting that even with its rich soils and great growing season(s), California might be a bit too dominant, calling its fruit and vegetable production “dizzying.” This includes 1/5 of the cabbage and 2/3 of the carrots . . . Americans purchase–just for two examples of vegetables stowed in Maine storage right now.

Mother Jones queried what the other 49 states were doing, suggesting they might have to step up given the drought and high cost of subsidized water (not to mention that 3100 mile Carbon Footprint to the Northeast markets). And some Maine farmers did step up. And have storages full of carrots and cabbage and potatoes and parsnips and beets and cranberries.

. . .And now we want to get them out to our fellow Mainers.

For all the buzz about local, for most, Local After Labor Day is only a bit more than a slogan, and local after Thanksgiving carries even less punch. For example, from our very farm-centered perspective, we can’t understand why any store is carrying Idaho or Washington etc. potatoes …

We can use your HELP. We know yo support local! Please go to your markets and try some Maine carrots (and potatoes, and parsnips, and beets, and cranberries, and cabbage). Tell the produce managers you like how orange those carrots look, how they look like they really grew in real Maine soil, how they taste sweeter. Ask them to call their local farmers and stock up…

• Simply put, they taste better

See the video!
• They are sweeter, that’s because they’re rounder (and the sweetness concentrates in the center and because they grow in colder climates building their “sugar defenses.” Carrots harvested in Maine in October and November really are sugar stix.

• They are often more orange, so they have more beta-carotene, as the Huffington Post reports, carrots are healthy eating and the more orange, the more so.

What other advantages do local carrots have?
• Tiny carbon footprint. Most carrots you are buying in Maine stores today have a one hour 60 mile or less travel footprint. Most carrots from the big California producers travel 46 hours across the country.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Michelle Chambers permalink
    January 24, 2017 11:49 pm

    We bought some carrots from our local Hannaford in Gorham, ME and these carrots are delicious!! Definitely a huge flavor difference!! I hope they have them all the time!!

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