Well, first, they’re not baby carrots. The two-inch carrots marketed as juveniles are actually pieces of regular sized carrots that are cut off and shaved into a “baby carrot” shape. So, there’s no reason to expect the babies to be fresher, more tender, or sweeter. (Sorry, baby carrot lovers.)
But revealing how baby carrots are made is only Part I of the answer to the question of where they come from. Who had the idea to make “baby carrots” and for what reason?
It turns out the idea came from a grower named Mike Yurosek. According to Douglas McGray at Fast Company, it was grocery stores that pushed Yurosek to invent the baby carrot. McGray writes:
…Yurosek had become frustrated with all the waste in the carrot business. Supermarkets expected carrots to be a particular size, shape, and color. Anything else had to be sold for juice or processing or animal feed, or just thrown away. Yurosek wondered what would happen if he peeled the skin off the gnarly carrots, cut them into pieces, and sold them in bags.
He whipped up two prototypes: the baby carrot with which we’re all familiar and “bunny balls,” 1-inch round carrot bites. Somehow the latter didn’t catch on. The rest is history.
Thanks to Annie C. for sending in the link!Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.