A Versatile Veggie
Bright, crunchy carrots are tasty as a raw snack or cooked in a favorite recipe. Fresh market carrots are available in Michigan from late July through November. Carrots for processing are harvested from early October through late November and are available all year thanks to storage. Carrots are a great vegetable for institutional food service due to their availability, nutritional value and versatility. Many schools use colorful carrots to get students excited about eating their veggies! Try carrots in soups and stews, in baked goods or casseroles, roasted or raw.
The Michigan Carrot Toolkit provides resources to help make it easier for institutions to find, buy and use this delicious and versatile vegetable. Learn how to purchase carrots from distributors or directly from farmers, find recipes that have been tested and perfected by food service staff members, and use the marketing materials to share the results of your efforts with staff members, eaters and communities. Then track your local purchases through the Cultivate Michigan Dashboard as we work towards reaching the goal of 20% Michigan foods in all Michigan institutions by 2020.
Quick Tips and Facts about Carrots
- Fact: In terms of production, Michigan ranks fourth in acreage of processed carrots and fourth in total acres of carrots.
- Nutrition Tip: Frozen and canned carrots are just as nutritious as fresh carrots.
- Fact: Orange carrots are the most prevalent worldwide, but carrots can also be red, purple, yellow, white or black.
- Storage Tip: Choose well-shaped, firm, deeply colored carrots. If attached, green tops should be bright and moist. To store, remove the green tops, place the carrots in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 14 days.
- Fact: Montcalm and Oceana counties produce the most carrots in Michigan.
- Nutrition Fact: Carrots provide 30% of the vitamin A in the American diet. They are also a good source of potassium, fiber and vitamins C and K.
- Fact: Orange carrots are thought to have been cultivated before the eighth century in the regions around Turkey.
- Fact: The carrot was introduced to the United States in the 17th century but did not become popular until after World War I.
Nutrition Fact: As the name implies, carrots are rich in beta-carotene, an organic compound that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is beneficial for eyesight.
Cultivate Michigan Resources
- Carrot Window Decal (PDF)
- Carrot Poster - 8 1/2'' x 11'' (PDF)
- Carrot Poster - 18" x 24" (PDF)
- Cultivate Michigan Sourcing Guide