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Carrot (March 3 Garden Project)

February 6, 2011

I ate a carrot today.

It’s February 6th.

It’s 30 degrees outside.

It’s snowing.

There are over two feet of snow on the ground.

And I ate a carrot straight out of the ground.

Even though our hoop house, great protector of the carrots, looks like this:

photo: Ellen Malloy

Yes, idling in the ground, their little green tops sticking up all fresh and perky looking, we have carrots under two layers of floating row cover and sorta kinda covered by a hoop house.

Last week’s blizzard was intense and poor Ellen was out at 3:00am dealing with our collapsing, flapping, noisy hoop house.  When I saw her photos, I was relieved that the destruction was so total.  If it had been marginal and I could see some way to rebuild, well, I’d have to be over there rebuilding.  This looked so bad I was just mentally able to let it go.  The best I could hope for was that there was now a two foot snow insulator on top of everything.  Maybe that would be good for something.

I was over at Ellen’s today, not to eat carrots, but to plant onions, and greens, and rutabaga, and Brussels sprouts, and beets, and cauliflower and on and on the list goes.  Today was the start of the new season, which is such an incredible feeling.  We filled seed trays with soil and sprinkled in teeny tiny seeds.  Then, miraculously, I found that I could open the door on the hoop house and put our trays out under a layer of floating row cover.  Our seeds are tucked away and will have some protection.  The minute they feel ready to sprout, we’re in business!

You know when you go to one of those fancy, multi-star,  hoity-toity restaurants where they cook everything in plastic bags and serve course after course and everything on the plate is unbelievably tiny, precious, and somehow flavor-packed?  Can you picture a carrot on one of those plates?  Well, you are now in the ballpark of understanding how small this carrot was I pulled today.  It was long and skinny and a little pale.  Might be a white carrot; not too sure since understandably things are not so well labeled out there in “hoop house chaos”.  Inauspicious looking to say the least.  Ellen washed it off and broke it in two, so really, when I say “I ate a carrot” today, that is not entirely true.  I ate half of a very tiny carrot.  You wouldn’t even call this a baby carrot.  Smaller.

But very big flavor!

We were bowled over by tastiness.

Sweet.  And it tasted like a carrot.  Which sounds ridiculous, but when’s the last time you bought a carrot at the grocery store that actually tasted like a carrot?  Right.

And we were encouraged.

The hoop house had been a lot of work (here’s how it started).  It is depressing to look at it now and try to decide whether to rebuild for spring planting or not.  I picked that carrot because I needed to prove something.  I needed to prove that on some level, the hoop house was a success.

The taste of that tiny carrot bite is just what we needed.  It might be the most important thing I eat in 2011.

You too should grow something to eat this year!  However small, it will be big.

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