Dear Carrot Friends,

As it turns to the middle of spring here in Massachusetts I am reflecting on what seems to be one of the most consequential events in my sixty years, the global pandemic of Covid 19. We are absolutely suffering in Massachusetts with rates of disease among the highest in the US and a loss of life that is staggering in the aggregate but scarier still for our residents over 80. If trends continue for the next few days 1% of our population over 80 will die from Covid 19. ( page 11)

Our whole way of life has changed here and a quarter of Massachusetts folks are currently unemployed. I feel and believe that on balance Massachusetts has the leadership and resources: political, medical, nonprofit, educational, religious, financial and spiritual to weather the crisis and remain whole. I hope and believe we will be able to learn from this and be a better community when the current period of fear and isolation are over. Globally the threat to other communities seems far more dire and I worry that coupled with climate change this pandemic could usher in years of suffering.

Gardening with Ben Lacy in his garden.

On Sunday May 3rd I gardened with my 94 year-old father-in-law and I must say I felt better about our situation after working with him. While we were planing sugar snap peas, he said we were getting the peas in two weeks late. I responded that lateness made sense with how cold our April was. We also planted carrots, radishes and beets. While we gardened I did tell him about the 1% figure and his immediate response was, “1%–now that is a low percent.” I was surprised by that perspective but on reflection if you have lived through the Great Depression and served in World War II in the Merchant Marines (the branch of the service with the highest fatality rate) the death of 1% of our residents over 80 did not sound that bad. Being with someone born in 1925 rather than 1960 showed me that we will get through this and that there have been far worse events. However this is our bad time and gardening helps me.

Gardening is part of my conscious strategy and I hope it can be a part of yours as well. For those of you who have requested carrot seeds I will be sending them out in the next week or so.

For those who have not yet please use this form to get your free carrot seeds.

There is little better than gardening with a child to make one feel better about the world. So in early June let’s get some carrot seeds in the ground and then thin them, tend them and harvest them after the frost. By then I hope we will have risen to the challenge of Covid 19. If not I know we will rise to the challenge later but we will have at least the respite of a really good carrot.

Spring in our yard at 41 Western Ave in Hull

Carrot Seed Order

Almost April

All photos below taken on March 31st in our gardens at 41 Western Ave in Hull MA

On Sunday I was reading this article in the New York Times by Kendra Pierre Louis about seed shortages due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. In the second paragraph she references Candide, and the ending of that story, with the phrase about tending one’s own garden.

I also saw that seeds are hard to come by as folks think about planting. Well, I have seeds–in fact, about 250 million carrot seeds, and I will be mailing them out, for free, to folks who would like them around May first.

To get your seeds please fill out the linked form.

Last year we had about forty sets of seeds go out and this year I am hoping for 100, though only nine folks have claimed theirs to date.

One of the most wonderful manifestations of Carrot Day Massachusetts 2019 was the work of June Fountaine and her students, and Heather Weber and her students. Here is what they had to say after the carrot day celebrations at their schools:

We celebrated carrot day with our middle school partners. We actually cut up the carrots so kids could taste the different colored carrots after seeing the cool shapes they grew in. Our “Medusa” looking carrot was admired by all, especially the pair of kids who had to work so hard to pull it out of the ground! My kids bagged the remaining carrots in paper bags (4 or 5 to a bag) stating that the carrots were from SSCPS and will be donated to a local food pantry. Some of the remaining ones will be cooked by the older kids into carrot and kale soup which we will eat this week. Kids loved the carrots!
June Fontaine SSCPS

November 2019

Memorial Middle School 7th grade students harvested their carrots this morning in advisory. They were so excited! I loved hearing all the comments. ” These are really the carrots we planted? From those little seeds?” I don’t even eat carrots, but this is so good!” “I am going to plant these at home this spring!” The First Annual Carrot Day in Hull was a wonderful day; it was filled with happy faces. The current 6th graders are very excited for their turn to grow carrots next year. Heather Weber Memorial Middle School Hull

November 2019

After the March Post June Fontaine wrote:

Hi Ted and All Carrot Growers, This was a welcome email during this time of social distancing.  Our connection with nature and the soil is one that we can depend on, whether we are in our own gardens or even just enjoying a sunny patch in a backyard. It surely will contribute to our mental health.  It’s a good time for students to notice changes in nature and perhaps even plant a few seeds on a windowsill in preparation for outside planting later on. Thanks for keeping us grounded, Ted. 

Carrot Seeds

Happy March,

My goal is to send you a post every month between now and Carrot Day 2020. The big news this month is that the carrot seeds have arrived from Fedco Seeds. A little over a pound of them, which is lots of seeds, about 250 million.

Like last year I will be sending carrot seeds to the first 100 families or school who asks for them. To get your seeds please fill out the linked form. I have five different varieties and you can pick from them but I recommend the mix. Especially if you are gardening with kids the enjoyment of seeing exactly what each carrot looks like adds to the excitement of the harvest.

You will receive about 1000 seeds. That is enough to grow a 25 foot long row or, as I prefer, an 8 X 3 foot bed of carrots. After careful thinning, weeding and tending you should get about 100 carrots.

  • One of the reasons I order seeds from Fedco Seeds is the poetry of their operation. Quoted below is the message that came with the seeds, ” Dear Seed Lover, … Each order contains a riot of promise; each packet, so much food and beauty; each seed, a genetic history that carries the plant’s parentage and adaptations to all the conditions in which it has grown, and the knowledge of how to soak up water and sprout, how to send out roots and seek nutrients, how to unfurl leaves, how to seek sun and photosynthesize, how to form flower heads and fruit, then come full circle and form seed. … Happy Spring, Roberta Bailey, Fedco Seeds co-ordinator

Looking forward to hearing from you,


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,


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 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://“>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.