One hundred years ago today, the birthday of Mike Yurosek, the father of the baby carrot.
Technically, a baby carrot is actually just a carrot that’s been harvested before it’s full grown.
And some stores and farmers do sell these with their greens still attached.
Often farmers pull them while they’re thinning out a crop, so why not sell them?
But if you look for baby carrots in a supermarket today, you usually find the bags of the all-orange cylinders, often with a little tub of ranch dressing along for the ride.
MIke Yurosek dreamed these up in the 1980s as a way to prevent farm waste.
Grocery stores didn’t want any carrots with funny shapes or other cosmetic issues.
And while he could sell some of the extras to other farmers to feed livestock, Yurosek was still sometimes throwing out hundreds of tons of perfectly edible vegetables at a time.
He thought about how frozen food companies cut carrots and other veggies into smaller pieces, so why not do the same thing for fresh ones?
He and his workers used industrial potato peelers to shave down the full size carrots into two-inch pieces.
The first grocery store that sold Yurosek’s baby carrots not only wanted more, they said they only wanted the small ones.
Food producers were ramping up the marketing around low-fat and low-calorie foods, so the baby carrot came along at just the right time.
In fact, baby carrots became such a success story that carrot breeders actually worked to produce longer carrots.
An eight inch carrot could produce three baby ones, while a six or seven inch carrot could only yield two.
Plus, if we ever discover any new species of really tiny bunnies, we’ll know just what to offer them.
These days pollinators can use all the help they can get.
So some communities in Europe are starting mini gardens on the roofs of bus stop shelters.
The bees and butterflies would still have to buy tickets to ride the bus.
Digging the baby carrot (USA Today)