Carrots DON’T Have Kids

Why is it so trendy these days to eat the offspring of our produce?

Ok. Let me rephrase that; What are so many foods being sold in a “baby” form. It seems like ALL fruits and vegetables sold, now have some midget version of themselves sitting next to them on grocery store shelves.

Do we honestly need 6 different types of miniature tomatoes? I like variety, but this shelf always makes me laugh when shopping at our local store.

Baby carrots have always been around. I belive they are just carved out of full-sized carrots, then repackaged and sold for a premium price. They are convenient though and I see the need for them. How stupid would we all look chomping down on full-grown carrots during our lunch time. It would be awkward if your meal consists of a foot-long carrot and a foot-long sub. If the carrot is anywhere near the size of  the sandwich you are eating as your main course, then I think you need to find yourself a more reasonable sized root to consume (unless you are Bugs Bunny). And that slimy “baby corn,” has been a stir-fry accompaniment since the first wok was used or P.F. Chang’s was franchised (whichever came first). Like the baby carrot, the baby corn’s size is the sole reason for its popularity; a full size cob of corn could never get picked up by a chop-stick wielding eater.  But neither the mini carrots or corn really taste any better than their full-sized counterparts. And they cost more.

But walk around and you will find apples and bananas sold in miniature format. Even fruit like kiwis are getting the bite-size-baby treatment. Then there are the “baby bella” mushrooms, and even baby artichokes.  This is starting to get a ridiculous

Maybe the tapas trend has been taken to an extreme and now farmers everywhere decided to start selling small-plate style produce.  Maybe our appetite has desired smaller produce so that we can easily compact more of it in our over-stuffed bellies. Maybe someone has a shrink-ray gun and is having too much fun….Either way, smaller versions of full-grown produce has SO MANY negatives.

A cheesy name like "Cuties" is enough to convince many of us that these are something we have to add to the grocery cart. But just think how much more peeling is going to be involved compared to a bag of "normal" sized fruit. (In defense of the Cuties, these actually do taste significantly sweeter than regular oranges, and they have been genetically engineered to be VERY easy to peel...but their smaller size means plenty of peeling just to get a mouthful of food.)

Look at an apple. A dwarf apple has practically the same size core as a full-grown one. Your core to edible-fruit ratio is complete crap in a bite-sized apple.

Tiny  orange hybrids(called by the various names like satsuma, clementine, etc) and those trendy  mini bananas that look like stubby fingers, are all so much more labor intensive. To get a solid snack from these baby-sized fruit, involves way to much peeling for my limited patience.

Then there is…the price. Fed Up readers will know that I am stingy, and will search endlessness for a good deal.  BUT, I am willing to pay a premium for something that justifies it. A hand-crafted cheese or a sushi roll made with exotic ingredients for example. “Baby”  fruits and vegetables that are TRULY just an immature versions of an adult crop, should be far cheaper. Produce picked before they are fully grown obviously take less time to produce, so then why the Hell are we paying as if they we some gourmet delicacy? Its like paying more for a 3 moth old bottle of wine, then for that same wine aged 3 years. And while there may be legitimate flavor and nutrient differences from dwarf fruit/vegetables, I always find is difficult to pay more when you are getting so much less food…I know, I know, quality frequently trumps quantity; and quality is damn expensive. But still buying 5 ounces  for the same price as 5 pounds, is always a difficult decision.

Baby Takiis...Ok, now they are just making crap up. These are just shiitake mushrooms that haven't grown. But, because they are called "Baby Takiis" I am sure Mrs. Fed Up will find them adorable, and will want to bring home a few boxes.

I think it is all just clever marketing. Give something a cute name and people will pay extra. Call anything “baby,” and a mother’s instincts and emotions are instantly triggered. And if something seems exotic enough, like “baby takiis”, then customers will line up just for the novelty-factor.

While there are some good reasons to bring home a bag of bite-sized carrots, lets agree to think really hard about bringing miniature produce into our homes.  Just like real babies, baby fruits and vegetables can be freaking expensive and come with a lot of extra baggage.

It says they are the "ultimate in antioxidants," but is a baby artichoke really that much better than a standard artichoke. If the term "baby" does not lure us in, the use of trendy buzz words like "antioxidants," will get many of us interested.

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Categories: Rants

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out; www.FedUpFood.com

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29 Comments on “Carrots DON’T Have Kids”

  1. April 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Over all I like the article, but I disagree on the portion about the small citrus fruits. Mandarin oranges have been around for many centuries. The Clementine is a hybrid of the Mandarin but I don’t think the Mandarin is hybrid. I think it is it’s own citrus fruit. Tangerines are related to the Mandarin but not a hybrid and have also been around for thousands of years.

    • April 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Oh. Sorry. I got a little carried away with my rants. Ya they are actually separate fruits (and tasty ones at that).

      Honestly, I am not that big of a fan or plain old oranges…but Clementines, I love! You are completely right. they are different fruits and so taste VERY differently.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Timothy
    April 22, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Basically the reason they cost more is because of the fruit forgone. It’s not like you can decide you want a minature pear, whack it off when its the size of a strawberry, and have the tree go “OK, I’ll just fruit through winter so that the same amount of fruit comes off.” This doesn’t happen with vegetables which need thinning, by the way. People have always eaten baby carrots because the way you plant carrots is to sow them thick and then thin them as they develop. You used to eat the thinnings as baby carrots, although baby carrots are now just carrots picked younger than the (still immature) normal carrot, because they are better in salads.

    The same is true of all sorts of crops. The main one which comes to mind is that my favourite apple, the Fuji, is traditionally grown by sacrificing every apple but the best per branch. This is why traditionally grown Fujis are huge, full of sugar, and cost a fortune for an apple. You are paying for the apples they throw away.

    The short bananas, called “Ladyfingers” here, are one of the two first commercial varieties. The whopper, flavourless bananas came later don’t bruise as easily, but they don’t have as much flavor. LF bananas are also good for lunchboxes.

    I don’t see the fuss about kiwifruit, but I like baby kiwis. The skin on them is edible, and it has this delicious tartness like grapefruit. They are so much better then the bland and seedy mature versions.

    • Timothy
      April 22, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Actually, pears were a bad example: there’s a minatyre pear that’s mature in minature.

      • April 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

        Hi Timothy. Thanks for reading and putting facts in. This site is more of a humorous view on the world, and not necessarily a site that should be taken too seriously. Yes, I do know there are legitimate reasons for the higher price of some “smaller” forms of the more common fruits/vegetables. And I am in FULL agreement that there are different taste/benefits to the various “smaller” options (like the “lady fingers”).

        I just get annoyed sometimes with how (at least in my area) trendy mini produce has become recently. I also suffer some serious buyers remorse every time I leave the store with a pound of “petite” vegetables, when for the same dollars spent, I could have had 5 pounds of “regular” sized vegetables.

        Oh, and to come clean, Mrs. Fed Up and I BOTH really REALLY like the “kiwi berries.” I have no idea is they are a “natural” crop, or completely genetically engineered…BUT I don’t care, they are damn tasty!

        Thanks for reading, and for educating me. I really did not know about the “thinning” of the crops.

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      I have never seen a baby kiwi, but I have read that you can eat the skin of regular sized kiwi fruit as well. This webpage (http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/kiwifruit_ars.html) has a lot of history on the kiwi fruit, yet contradicts what both you and I think; it states eating the skin can cause a throat irritation. The website states that kiwi fruit can be used as a meat tenderizer, I never thought/knew that!! Cool! I love kiwi fruit and finding new uses for it gives me more reason to love this sweet treat!!!

      • April 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

        Kiwis really are a great fruit. It is funny because suddendly ALL our local stores started carrying the kiwi-berries.
        Yep. While traveling, I have met people that eat the kiwi skin…but the big reason I was told that it was unpopular what because the “hairy” exterior is not that pleasant to eat.

      • April 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

        I have blended the kiwi up before with skin and had no problems, perhaps it is a mental/texture thing? I have also bitten some skin off before while eating it, no throat irritation or death… so must not be too terrible! Kiwi berries?? Not sure what those are!

      • April 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

        Kiwi berries are real good. I wrote about them a few months back:
        http://fedupfood.com/2012/01/07/kiwi-berries-surprising-find-at-sams/

  3. April 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Hi, great post.

    FYI- we nominated you for a Sunshine Blog Award. We are not sure if you really need it, as you get plenty of attention, but we love the blog and figured “why not”. Thanks- putneyfarm.com

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      THANK YOU. I really feel honored. Most of my awards only came in the form of tickets after winning a round of skee-ball, or some other game at a videogame arcade.

  4. April 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I enjoyed your post. I recall recently sitting around the table with my aunt discussing the “baby” carrots that are sold in the grocery store bags, the small orange things that don’t even resemble carrots pulled out of the ground. I found this website (http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/babycarrot.html) that does a nice job describing the difference and the “origin” of the baby carrot you show in your headliner photo. Those aren’t true baby carrots… they’re whittled carrots. 😉

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      Hey! Thanks for sharing! I had heard rumors that most “baby” carrots where just carved from full sized ones.

      Oh, and that is AWSOME there is a “carrot museum.” I wonder if there is also a broccoli museum? ha

      • April 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

        Broccoli museum would be good for me right now, it might have recipes, etc that might help my little experiment going on. Since broccoli is coming up in season here it would be nice to have something to fall back on for research. I’ll have to get googling! 😉

  5. April 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    I think stingy is an art – and it enables me to spend money on splurges that I think are worth it. Baby carrots aren’t – they’re dried up horrible things that have probably turned generations of kids off carrots altogether…and a lot of adults. I think they were invented to dip in cheap Ranch dressing. It’s a conspiracy.

    • April 23, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Haha. Yep, the evil Ranch industry has been making legions of “baby carrots” just to sell a few more bottles of their dressing….but…Ranch and carrots is a tasty combo.

  6. April 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    I had no idea there was so much baby produce available. It’s a marketing scam. I’m convinced of that after reading your post. Thank you for opening my eyes! 😉

    • April 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      Ya, it is kind of funny now how there are TWO sizes of every fruit and vegetable. Thanks for reading!

  7. April 24, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    I wonder if such a practice is employed in fast food restaurants (i.e. mini burgers, cute French fries, and a mini size of Coca-cola) that the trend would become popular.

    • April 24, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      HA. Good idea! For better or worse, fast food restaurants do play a huge role in shaping the world and what is eaten.

  8. elangomatt
    April 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Just found your blog today from the Serious Eats Talk forum. I have always assumed that “baby” versions of veggies are more expensive because of lost opportunity that the grower would have if they just let it mature to a larger size. I would think some veggies would just start producing more product if the baby veggie is havested, but others no doubt produce a limited number of the veggie so they have to start the plant over again from scratch. Case in point at my local Kroger the other day. Full size eggplants were on sale for $1.28 a pound I think. The baby eggplants were $1.28 each (with each in big capital letters).

    Oh and I find this sentance from your post pretty amusing… “Call anything “baby,” and a mother’s instincts and emotions are instantly triggered.”

    I get the idea that calling something baby might invoke maternal instincts, but what maternal instincts case a person to chow down on the “baby” veggie that they just got all maternal on?

    • April 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

      HAHA…I guess my wording could be switched up a bit. I was just going for how marketers may use emotional appeals as a way to increase the possibility of adding carrots to your shopping cart. …but I hear hamsters will eat their young….ha

      Thanks for reading!

      • April 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

        I totally understood what you meant, I just thought it was funny is all. And how do you even eat a baby artichoke? I feel like a third of the bracts on a full size artichoke are useless, can’t imagine on the baby one unless you just eat the whole baby artichoke (surely there is still that furry choke of some form inside the baby ones too though)

      • April 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

        Good question. I have no idea how to eat a baby artichoke… I am too stingy to even buy the damn things.

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