The magic of carrots is in the unknown. Somewhere within the darkness of the soil, teeming with invisible life, nutrients seek a vessel to be passed from earth to plant to bodies. Carrots make gardeners feel like magicians: the orange flash, when pulled from the earth, draws gasps and applause, if only in our minds. But the true magic is revealed in the eating, when the vivid color gives way to a sweet crunch that somehow makes us feel as bright and strong and well-anchored as the freshly picked root.
This tried and true American heirloom is one of the best home garden carrots. The traceable history of the carrot spans 5000 years. Evidence has been dug up that this relative of wildflower Queen Anne's lace originated in Afghanistan. The modern carrot came into being thanks to the efforts of the French and Dutch. The Danvers carrot was developed in 1871 in Massachusetts.
These carrots are deep orange and often on the short side, about six to eight inches long, though they can get up to about 10" long in deep, loose, rock-free soil. The roots are broad at the top and tapered.