Carrot Day 2020

Dear Carrot Friends,

I am excited to be writing to you again. I hope you had fun growing, harvesting and eating carrots last year. We are set to do it again this year.

Last year we had dozens of schools and fifty families who let us know they had joined up to plant, tend, harvest and celebrate carrots. Who knows, we may have even more families and schools celebrate with us this year! While all of the carrots I grew have been eaten and the joys of carrot celebrations are over I hope that you, like I, still have fond Carrot Day memories.

The goal of this project remains the same: to grow, tend, harvest and eat carrots as a step toward a better tasting, better feeling and healthier life for ourselves and our local environment.

Why Carrot Day?

One rule of thumb is that flavor is a marker for nutrition; another rule of thumb is that when a child grows a vegetable that child is likely to eat it. I have seen homegrown carrots serve as an entry into eating all kinds of food, and a school garden altering the way a child grows up. Together let’s build habits and ways of gardening and eating that will endure, so that as individuals we counteract some of the harm we do in our daily lives.

With Groundhog Day marking the end of the darkest quarter of the year it is time to look forward to spring, summer and fall, and thoughts of carrots ahead. I am currently enjoying the process of ordering seeds. I get mine from a great group out of Maine, Fedco Seeds. If you want some excellent reading order their print catalog.

Happy end of winter and let’s start planning for Carrot Day next fall.

With love for you and carrots,

Ted

The Frost Came and the Carrots Are/Were Good

Well, here in Hull Massachusetts, we did not have our first frost until November 8th. Seriously cold weather was soon to follow with 21 degrees F. the night of the 13th. Other spots here on the South Shore had frost about a week earlier and I got reports of post-frost Carrot harvests in Pembroke on November 2nd and Rockland on November 3rd. I want to thank all who sent messages in about your harvests. I am very excited about our first year and want to build on it for next year. I would love to share your pictures of your harvest. If it is just the carrots no need for permission but if there are people in the pictures please write to me at hirschted60@gmail.com that it is okay to post.

Carrot Day at 41 Western Ave in Hull

I want to thank you all again and tell you what fun I had this year with this project. I want to say a special thanks to the Jane Hershi at CitySprouts, Jon Belber at Holly Hill Farm and Heather Weber at the Hull Public Schools and June Fontaine at South Shore Charter. Let’s keep promoting growing and eating our own food and supporting farmers who follow practices that put flavor and healthy soil above short term profit. I think the pictures in this post show some of the joy of Carrot Day. I just wish you could have seen the kids eating and talking about carrots for twenty minutes straight at the East End House of Cambridge. These kids made a wonderful celebration of carrot eating right after they picked carrots at the Hurley Street Farm it does not get any better than that.

Let’s change the way we all think about food one carrot, one garden, one school, one kid at at time. Happy Carrot Day!!

The carrot on the left was picked and then eaten on November 13th by one of the students in the East End House After-school Program in Cambridge MA.

The carrot was planted in June at the the Hurley Street Farm, an urban farm that is part of GreenCambridge. They donated garden space for me to grow carrots. Over the course of the summer and fall I tended these carrots and on 11/13 the students from East End House accompanied by Community Charter School of Cambridge students harvested 60 carrots. Back at East End House some of the Community Charter School of Cambridge students washed the carrots while others read the Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus. Then we had a Carrot Day Celebration with the staff
and students at EEH that was great fun and highly rewarding.

Leave a Comment and tell us about your Carrot Day and many more Carrot Days to come!

The Carrots are getting close

Dear Carrot Friends,

The fall is here. The nights are now easily outlasting the days and there is a chill in the air. The ocean temperature is approaching 50 degrees Fahrenheit (my favorite temperature for swimming) and starches in the brassicas and root vegetables are turning to sugars.  To see how flavors were coming along I have been periodically eating a carrot or two. The carrots have not been that good up until a few days ago. Then I pulled three small carrots and I am pleased to say they are starting to taste good. They were crisp and the earthy quality is blooming into a combination of earthy and sweet. My wife Katy and I thought they were almost there. 

The ten day forecast in eastern Mass shows us getting close to 32 but not quite, but in Western Mass you have already had frost or it is coming soon. I am getting excited to think a frost might come soon here in Eastern Mass. When it does and you harvest your carrots please fill in the Google Form and tell us when you pulled your carrots, how much you harvest (you can give us quantity and weight, or quantity or weight) and most significantly of all, how you celebrated the harvest and how the carrots tasted.  Please send me photographs and permission to post them on the blog.

Happy cold and happy harvest and happy eating and happy Carrot Day whenever you celebrate it.

Please fill out this Google Form for Carrot Day.

These carrots are getting close and were very good! But the ones still in the ground will get better.

TV Interview, Schools and Now Is Great Time to Plant Your Winter Carrots!!!!!

Dear Carrot Friends,

Jonny Belber, Jane Hirschi and I have been getting some work done on Carrot Day Massachusetts 2019 and I would like to share a bit of news.

  1. Jane and I were just on a TV show from Newton MA called Innovation Showcase with Jay Sugarman here is the link.

Jay was a wonderful interviewer and led us in a wide ranging discussion of the connection of growing and using joy in education. Jay is not only an expert interviewer but he is well versed in K – 12 education having taught for 40 years in the Brookline public schools. The interview is 30 minutes and if you have the time I hope you watch it. Thanks Jay and Jane this was my first TV interview and you both made it fun.

Today the UN Climate Report came out with a new document that emphasizes the importance of land use, agriculture and diet on climate change something I talk about in the interview with Jay. Here is the link to the report.

2. Jonny and Jane have been been connecting us with schools and here is a list starting with districts and partners with many schools and finishing up with individual schools

Districts and Partners

CitySprouts: many gardens in Boston and Cambridge

Cohasset: Osgood School, Deer Hill School, Cohasset Middle School, and Cohasset High School

Hingham: South School, Plymouth River School, East School

Quincy: Atlantic, Lincoln-Hancock, Clifford Marshall, Point, Broad Meadows

Scituate: Cushing School, Wampatuck School, Hatherly School, Jenkins School, Gates Middle School, Scituate High School

Somerville: Groundworks

Weymouth: Academy Avenue, Murphy, Wessagusset, 

Individual Schools Codman Academy, Dorchester, Community Charter School of Cambridge, Cambridge, Derby, Hingham, Franklin School, Melrose, Old Colony Montessori, Hingham, Oxford Street Preschool, Cambridge, South Shore Educational Collaborative, Hingham, South Shore Charter Public School, Norwell, Tobin Montessori, Cambridge

3. Plant your “candy carrots” now!!!! Here is a link that gives a quick overview of what to do. The author summarizes how Elliot Coleman adds value and flavor by growing carrots with hoop houses, (cold frames work too,) up in Maine. We can certainly do it here in Massachusetts.

Please let me know how your carrots are growing. Please thin them and you can of course eat the thinning and be patient. Frost will come but it is not too late to join in the fun of Carrot Day Massachusetts.

Ted Hirsch


Boston Globe and Virtual Carrot Museum

There was a wonderful article in yesterday’s (04/19) online version of the Boston Globe. The author, Ysabelle Kempe, describes the work and goals of The Carrot Day Project beautifully. She explains that Carrot Day is a powerful effort to change the way people eat by encouraging a deeper connection to food. We think that being connected to the food you eat enriches your life.

A reader of the Globe saw the article and sent me a link to the Virtual Carrot Museum.
We are certainly not the first group to value the power of a really good carrot and this is an amazing site that I hope you visit. It is a treasure trove of information about carrots, their history, their cultivation and other people who are wild about carrots. If you want detailed advice on growing carrots this page of their museum is a good place to start.

It is not too late to request seeds for your garden and if you are interested please read the post titled Carrot Seeds.

Carrot Seeds

Hi Carrot Friends,

This is our second post and I am pleased to say that a donor has made available carrot seeds to those who request them.

I will be sending out Carrot Seeds soon after the first of May to any person, family or group that requests them until the supply runs out (there is a request form at the bottom of this page). Your task is to plant them, tend them and patiently await the first frost and then to eat them.

If you already have seeds, we still would love your zip code so we can include you on Carrot Day Massachusetts map.

The seeds we have are from Fedco Seed Catalog in Maine. Holly Hill Farm gets many of their seeds from High Mowing Farms in Vermont.

A detail of Gary Nesbit’s Drawing for an earlier Carrot Day celebration at South Shore Charter

To Sign up for seeds please fill out the following <a href=”http://https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSek42ul8CZQN-1eNephz9cBuXVkik0GSgn9ixoFt6yegA3aqQ/viewform?embedded=true“>form.

Carrot Day in Massachusetts

Our vision is that many people all across Massachusetts will eat a locally grown “frost kissed carrot” soon after the first frost of Fall 2019!

The goal of the project is to increase interest in growing, harvesting and eating food in Massachusetts.

If you have ever tasted a carrot picked after a frost you know how good it is.  The starches in the carrot start to turn to sugars as the carrot root protects itself from the cold.  The taste and the crunch of a “frost kissed carrot” can transform the way we think about food. Not just on Carrot Day but on every day as children and adults taste, feel and smell the explosive value of a really good carrot and carrots are just the entry point to a new way to think about and experiencing food and health.

What we are doing:

At the end of the spring folks all over Massachusetts will plant carrot seeds with the goal of harvesting them after the first frost. Gardeners, school children, farmers, and volunteers will tend those carrots in the summer-thinning and weeding and watering. Then after the first frost they will harvest the carrots. Those spectacular carrots will be eaten at public events all across the state, celebrating the human process of growing and tending with the natural process of plants growing in summer and response to frost in the fall.

Part of what makes this exciting is the mystery of when Carrot Day will be.

We never know for sure when the first frost will be. We can be certain that it will be sooner on the shoulders of Mt. Greylock than off the beaches of Truro.  This will be a chance to participate in Citizen Science as we map the planning, tending, and harvesting of carrots across the state.

We are beginning as a partnership between CitySprouts, Holly Hill Farm and schools in and around Cambridge.  But why stop there– join us to make Carrot Day Massachusetts a transformative event.

The task is simple.  Plants some carrots, tend them, harvest them, and then eat them in a public space.

Some carrots will come from school gardens

Some will come from backyards

Some will come from Community Gardens

Some will come from local farmers

Some will be orange, some yellow, some red, some purple

Some will be small, some the size of a commercial carrot, some will be giant

All will have the taste of frost, and all will be fresh.

It will be more than fun.

It will be a mapping and documenting project where the data points will tell a story.  But the main goal is to change how children and adults experience food.

Carrot Day could set us on a path of producing and consuming local food for health, for fun, and for the sustainability of our earth.

Join our team.

What we need:

  • Space to plant carrots all across the state
  • Schools to join us
  • Community and backyard (or even better front-yard) gardeners
  • Local farms
  • Chefs
  • Colleges
  • Folks to send in records
  • Business sponsors

Help make Carrot Day happen in a big way all across Massachusetts!

You are seeing the first steps in our web page.

Join us, we will, in time be graphing, mapping and creating a shared Google photo album.

We will also have links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Carrot Day Massachusetts.