After an October that felt like November—frigid and blustery—we find ourselves in this unexpected period of beautiful weather and warm, calm November afternoons that feel like October. And the best part is that the carrots are so gorgeous that we feel like we will never get tired of picking them. We might get tired of washing them, though...
The carrot patch in Loudoun is weed free and glorious. We make a quick pass through with the digging machine, jiggling the carrots up to the surface, and then we swoop in on our hands and knees and gather them up. One afternoon the digger wasn't properly adjusted and a lot of carrots got sliced, so we had to take the tops off of those and go out again to try again.
At the Vienna farm, the soil is still damp enough that we can pull the carrots up with our hands, no tools needed.
But the best part is that these carrots taste better than ever before, and it might be the cold weather in October that brought out the sweetness. We already know that our clay soil makes our root crops particularly tasty (the soil structure holds onto nutrients, adding to the sweetness and flavor), but the chilly temperatures helped too.
Our farmer friend Dave Paulk got himself a huge new carrot picking machine, made in Denmark. He has been working and working to get it in perfect adjustment. Today he probably picked 10 times as many carrots as we did, in a fraction of the time. We are not jealous. Our soil is so nice to work in and pulling carrots has always felt like a special treat. It would be a whole different task, watching topless carrots pour out of the back of a huge red dinosaur of a machine. We will get some of his carrots soon, and we will do a taste test. He is a superb farmer and we know they will be delicious.
As we have said so many times before, carrots are just about the hardest crop of all to grow successfully. So it feels wonderful to have two good carrot seasons in the same year. This does not happen often. 2022 is the Year of the Carrot, and we are loving it.