Carrots around the World

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World Carrot Production Statistics


Rank 2013 Country Tonnes
1 China, mainland 16,929,000
2 Uzbekistan 1,641,882
3    Russian Federation 1,604,656
4 United States of America 1,290,285
5 Ukraine 930,100
6 Poland 742,514
7 United Kingdom 696,200
8 Japan 600,500
9 Germany 583,587
10 Turkey 569,855
  Rest of world 11,638,061
WORLD TOTAL 37,226,640

World share of carrot production

See breakdown of European Statistics here.   

See USDA statistics for World Production 1961-2007 here (excel chart)

See also Factfish for variation pie charts

The US Federal Produce statistics, giving an overview of the carrot industry are here.

 

World Map of main growing areas

Main Shapes

UK map Growing areas
World Map of main carrot growing areas Mian shapes of carrots uk map showing carrot growing areas
Around the World in detail

Common names for Carrot from most countries around the world (pdf)

China is Carrot production King of the World , the US ranks among the other top nations in the production of carrots: fourth in acreage and volume, third in terms of yield (31.7 tons/ha). Russia, Japan, France and the United Kingdom are also leading producers. World wide 13.37 million tons were produced in 1990, a 30% increase over the past decade.
Carrot consumption in the US increased sharply in the 1990s, from about 10 pounds a person per year to 14 pounds. Kern county, California dominates US carrot production, and two firms control 90 percent of California fresh carrots--most growers produce carrots under contract for these firms.

Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are also large producers. Quite a few also emanate from Holtville, California which dubs itself "The Carrot Capital of the World."   Learn about the Annual Carrot Festival (and others) by clicking here.

Carrots are ninth (out of twenty eight) among vegetable crops in the US. Average value of commercial crop is about $70,500,000 per year based on fresh-market and processed carrots, accounting for about 875,000 tons of carrots. (1979 figures)

The largest carrot producer in the world is Grimmway Carrots in California.

World production of carrots in the mid-1990s exceeded 14 million metric tons annually.

Carrot Pyramid


UK - British Carrot Growers Association - UK grows approx 700,000 tons of carrots per year and is self sufficient for 11 months of the year. The main variety grown are Nantes variants, often Bolero, Laguna and Nairobi.In Europe the UK has the highest production with 750,000 tons per year. Next come France (568k), Netherlands (476k) and Italy (407k) others large producers include Poland and Germany.

Poland has an important place in European production of vegetables. In production of cabbage and carrot they have first place in Europe and as much as 20% of the total vegetable production of Europe consists of cabbage and about 18% of carrots produced in Poland. Comparing to the total world production of vegetables the share of polish cabbage amounts about 5% and that of carrots slightly above 5%. Read more here.

Germany - Carrots are cultivated on about 9,650 hectares all over Germany. Nordrhein-Westfalen is the largest cultivation area for carrots. Other important cultivation areas are Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate. 527,000 metric tons of carrots were harvested in Germany in 2015.

Australia Carrots are also grown on a large scale in Australia.  In 1999, 267,000 tonnes of carrots were produced from about 7,500 hectares. There is also an Australian Carrot, which is native. First records in Australia show it arrived in 1788 with the First Fleet and convicts planted 'Long Orange' carrots on Norfolk Island just two weeks after their arrival and gathered in their first harvest in October of that year. Along with the cabbage, it became an important food for the colonists.

France - In France, both the carrot and the parsnip were equally appreciated until the end of the 19th century. In 1853, Husson recorded the amounts of the major vegetables consumed in Paris per year. For carrots, 8,059, 200 bunches were devoured. At 2 1/2 kilos (about 5 pounds) per bunch (bunches were big then!), that amounted to more than 50,000,000 pounds. Parsnips, while less sought-after, were still consumed at a respectable 495,400 bunches or approximately 2,500,000 pounds per year.

But by the end of the 19th century, the French became so enamoured of the potato that it largely replaced the parsnip in culinary usage. Now, parsnips are found only in the best markets and especially in organic markets where producers offer an especially wide variety of produce.

Today the best-known carrot in France is the carotte de Créances (below left), grown in the sandy soil of lower Normandie, near the town of Cotentin. Only eight villages are allowed to call their carrots by this special name. The carotte de Créances has a regulated growing regimen which includes a special fertilizer of local seaweeds rich in sulfur and iodine as well as manure. However, in Parisian markets the premium carrot is simply called "the sand carrot," (carotte de sable--photo below right). Grown by 18 different villages not far from the carrot of Creances' territory, the sand carrot is said to be coreless and is always sold carefully unwashed, so that you are assured of its origin by its sugar-doughnut-like appearance. The favored variety for sand carrots is the 'Rouge de Carentan', a coreless variety.

Carrot and parsnip in speech and tradition. (Warning: In order to avoid falling asleep, you might want to skip this part if you're not a language freak.) I am unaware of any figures of speech in English turning on the carrot and parsnip (except for "carrot-top" meaning red-haired). Perhaps an alert reader can fill me in on some I've overlooked. But in France, both the carrot and the parsnip, due to their cylindrical form, have been used of course to allude to the male sex. (Yes, French is undoubtedly the language richest in figures of speech having to do with sex. Not surprising, is it?)

The carrot figures abundantly, however, in other French expressions. It even evolved into a verb--carotter--which means to get something from someone by means of a ruse or other fraudulent means. An "eater of carrots" (mangeur des carottes) is a fool, a naive person easy to be had. "Jouer la carotte" means to play with small stakes. And, a carotteur or carotteuse is someone who swindles you out of money by means of his or her sexual favours.

French gardening traditions were full of superstitious tricks for ensuring a good harvest. These varied from an incantation to having to wear a new shirt when planting carrots, to touching your thigh while planting them, muttering "long as my thigh, thick as my thigh" to ensure your carrots would thus grow. The French have always believed--and still do!--that carrots, along with other roots, must be planted during the waning moon to prevent bolting.

Visit the Australia page here for more information. (opens in new window)White Carrots

New Zealand - In 1773, British explorer James Cook and navigator Tobias Furneaux planted a number of gardens in Queen Charlotte Sound, with plants such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, onions, leeks, parsley, radish, mustard, broad beans, kidney beans, peas, turnips and wheat. That same year, south of Cape Kidnappers, Cook gave the Māori chief Tuanui roots and seeds, including wheat, beans, peas, cabbages, turnips, onions, carrots, parsnips and yams.

Settler gardens were characterised by their large size and great variety of produce. The productive gardens at the Kerikeri mission station in the 1820s were about one-third of a hectare and grew:

  • vegetables – asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, celery, cress, cucumbers, endive, lettuces, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, shallots and turnips

When Europeans arrived, Māori replaced their traditional crops with those brought by Europeans. Their main crop was soon potatoes, which provided a heavier and more reliable food source than kūmara, and could be grown throughout the country. Corn, cabbages, tobacco, carrots, turnips, squash, swedes and new varieties of kūmara were also added to Māori gardens.

By the start of the 19th century vegetable growing had become a highly profitable enterprise for some coastal tribes who sold or traded their vegetables with whalers, sealers and the first European settlers.

Although Māori adopted the new crops they did not adopt all European horticultural practices. Māori were reluctant to use hoes and spades, preferring their traditional tools. They also refrained from fertilising their crops with animal manure, instead continuing to clear new sites when the fertility of their gardens dropped. More on New Zealand here.

(source - Te Ara, the New Zealand Encyclopaedia - http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/kai-pakeha-introduced-foods/1)

Canada (Vancouver) - Min of agriculture - here. Saskatchewan here.


USA - .
See the Florida Carrot website Find out more here. Read about Texas carrots here.

The US Federal Produce statistics, giving an overview of the carrot industry are here. More USA carrot facts here.

No universally-cultivated vegetable enjoyed less regard as an ingredient of cuisine in 19th-century America than the carrot. The authors of US cookbooks repeatedly observed that, “carrots are not a very favourite vegetable for the table. They are used in broths and soups, but chiefly sent to table as a garnish, or an accompaniment to salt fish.” Even the carrot’s defenders were compelled to notice that “[t]his vegetable is but little used, except in soups; yet they are very palatable and healthy, containing a great amount of nutriment.” The distaste was for carrots themselves, not their mode of preparation, for the commonest way of cooking them—what some cookbooks designated “American style Carrots”—was to boil them soft and serve them with butter, as simple a rendering as might be conceived, aside from chewing them raw. No cookbook of prior 1900 recommended consuming uncooked carrots.

Why, then, did most US gardens contain carrots? Because since time immemorial they stood foremost among the vegetables that livestock savoured. Both tops and roots appealed. In New England, in early November, the farmer “cut off the tops, near, but not quite to the crown of the plant, with sharp hoes; they are greedily eaten by oxen, cows, sheep, and swine—then run a plough deep” to unearth the roots for use through the winter. Many argued that they were the most nutritious field crop for animals. “One bushel of carrots will yield more nourishment than two bushels of oats, or potatoes, and it is a remarkable fact, that horses will frequently leave oats to feed on carrots.” Because of the cost of growing grains, claims such as these found a wide welcome in the second quarter of the century. Experimentalists noted that it thrived when intercropped with flax seed, so that a field could yield two products simultaneously; furthermore, the vegetable did not leech the soil of nutriments as most grains did.

When planting carrots, care had to be taken that the soil was deeply ploughed and free of stones. The small feathery seeds were planted by a dibble or drill eighteen inches apart on a still day, so wind did not blow the seed astray. Once seed had been deposited in the drill hole, the field hand used his foot to push soil into the hole and step on it to seal it. Because the carrot did not have natural predators that attacked it during the early stages of growth (such as the turnip fly for turnips), it enjoyed a relatively carefree cycle of growth. In the antebellum period cattle farmers frequently intercropped carrots with mangel wurtzel, a root vegetable rather like a coarse rutabaga, that also enjoyed great favor as animal feed.

In the colonial period and early republic the long orange carrot, England’s standard root, grew universally in American fields. The French white and purple carrots were specimen plants cultivated by experimental gardeners exclusively. In the 1850s the White Belgian and Scarlet varieties enjoyed a vogue among hotel cooks. After the Civil War, the Danvers, the Altringham, and the Early French Forcing Carrot came into wide cultivation.

Shakers - 1843

Directions for preserving vegetables in the winter were printed in the 1843 edition of The Gardener's Manual, published by the United Society (Shakers). The method is similar to others of the nineteenth century, although the "circular" form described was unique to the Shakers:

Beets and carrots should be gathered before hard frost in the Fall, the tops cut off and the roots packed away in sand in a warm cellar. A good method of preserving Beets and Carrots fresh through the Winter is, to lay them in a circular form on the bottom of the cellar, with the roots in the centre and heads outward; cover the first course of roots with sand; then lay another course upon them, and cover with sand as before, and so on until all are packed and covered. The sand for Carrots should be very dry or they will rot; for Beets it may be moist, but not wet. Celery is preserved in the same way. Onions and Turnips keep well on scaffolds, or in barrels, in a dry cool cellar. (The Gardener's Manual, 1843)

The brief history of carrots grown in the US in the nineteenth century explains how they came to be grown in the United States (pdf -  Source - The Heirloom Vegetable Garden, Cornell Cooperative Extension Information bulletin 177). (references in pdf text - 2. Burr, Fearing, Jr. The Field and Garden Vegetables of America. Boston, 1865. 3. Burr, Fearing, Jr. Garden Vegetables and How to Cultivate Them. Boston, 1866.


India - More about carrot production in India here.   

Africa - Carrot is a popular vegetable with high vitamin A content, grown in East Africa mostly in the cooler highlands. The roots are consumed raw or cooked, alone or in combination with other vegetables (for example, peas), as an ingredient of soups, sauces and in dietary compositions. Young leaves are sometimes eaten raw or used as fodder. Carrots are an important source of vitamin A in African diets.  

 Traditional Medicinal Uses for Carrot and its seeds around the world (pdf).



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