A lovely assortment of the root veggie our gardening gurus like to call "soil candy", a fresh crop of carrots is a vibrant, sweet treat.
Photo: Caleb Chancey
If you're only familiar with standard supermarket carrots—that is, bagged, topless, and uniformly orange—then venturing into the world of heirloom varieties will bring real delight. The visual change-ups constitute the first striking difference: Some are round like baby beets, others long and digit-slender. And the stunning sunset colors—deep purple, flaming orange, saffron yellow—sometimes appear within one carrot. (Centuries ago, purple carrots were the norm, until farmers cultivated wild carrots into the orange varieties that dominate today.) Although the three types that Mary Beth and David Shaddix grew for us didn't taste significantly different from each other, all were profoundly sweet and much more carroty than supermarket vegetables—hence their "soil-candy" nickname, describing a sweetness that gets even sweeter when you roast and caramelize these treats.