Once you become good at growing carrots, you’ll want to grow more and more of them. You’ll find the demand for carrots is extremely high from various types of customers. Whether it’s kids, cooks or experienced foodies, most everyone loves a good carrot.
That said, it is important to understand how you can sell all the different styles to the various markets and thus make the most of your effort. It is easy to assume everyone wants giant carrots, for example, and that the yield and profit will be best when the vegetables look like they came out of a supermarket. Depending on the market and the carrot, though, this might not be the case.
Here are five tips on ways to market carrots.
1. Leave the Greens On
Leaving fresh greens on the tops of your carrots is a great way to ensure good market sales. Not only can customers use the greens for pesto, garnishes and stocks, but the greens make the vegetables look fresh and robust. If you have a good cooler situation, you can leave the greens on or three days. Generally speaking, after that, the greens begin to deplete the moisture from the roots or develop rotten spots.
2. Stack Carrots High at Farmers Markets
With the greens on, it is best to pile you carrots very high. This might seem silly at first, but it does two things. First, it draws customers to your booth. Second, the vegetables sell better when more are visible (especially if the greens look good). Bring a water bottle to keep them misted and fresh. Also, don’t assume that all customers want giant carrots. We get the best sales early in the spring when the carrots are about 4 to 6 inches long in bunches that hold 10 to 12 each—essentially large baby carrots.
3. Market Carrots to Chefs
Every chef has different needs and wants. Some chefs aim for the best flavor. Some like a variety of colors. Other chefs love baby carrots and uniformity. Chefs can often be a challenge to harvest for, as uniformity is hardly an easily achieved state in carrots. So it’s best to approach chefs before the season begins and ask them how they like their carrots—get an idea, then plant accordingly.
4. Grow Several Varieties
Many different shapes and colors of carrot exist. It’s always a good idea to simply grow some Nelson or Mokum (or any orange carrot you like) while also experimenting with some of the rainbow varieties. We have had surprisingly good luck selling unusual varieties if we get passionate about them. The Parisian market carrot varieties are particularly good sellers for us despite their odd shape for the simple reason that we love them and they are delicious. Sometimes, having the different varieties on the table at the same time makes for a great conversation starter and display.
5. Strategize for Storage and Later Sales
Greens have to come off for longer storage. Otherwise, as stated above, they rot and draw the flavor and moisture out of the carrot. It takes some practice to market and sell these vegetables without the greens. For the farmers market, think of nice ways to either bunch them or display them in berry baskets to make them look attractive and bountiful. If you can leave partial greens on, that’s even better. Chefs appreciate having the sweet carrots all winter. Looks are often what sells carrots in person at the farmers market, but chefs more easily accept a large container of carrots without the greens because they value flavor, quality and consistency rather than an attractive appearance.