For quite a while now, the purple carrot has been the new buzz food touted all the cool nutritionists who get regular spots on breakfast TV shows. Never one to be phased by what's cool - or the colour of things for that matter - I'd resisted even the most avid attempts of the local supermarket to get me to pile onto the bandwagon. It wasn't until the nearest branch of our national hardware monopoly offered me 1000 of them for a little under $1.50 that I finally came across the line on impulse alone. All that was required was a little time & patience to make the contract come good.
This is how I came to be sowing 'purple haze' cultivar a few months back.
Up until now the only advantage I'd been promised on the purple carrot was the magic A-word that sells any other food as well as sex sells everything: Antioxidants. While I think the magical claims of popular marketing rarely comes to fruition in most areas, I'll leave it to you, the consumer, to judge whether that's a real advantage or not. But as I found few other advantages worth a mention, I might as well get along now to the disadvantages.
Purple carrots suck.
The first problem I found is that unlike their orange cousins growing in the next row, the purple carrots have a tendency to bolt to seed on a whim. My orderly display of carrots was quickly reduced to a overgrown jungle, sprouting floral displays that you could easily mistake for a bundle of rusty shower-heads suspended in the sky. But the real problem here is that when the carrot goes to seed, the root turns to timber. Once pulled from the ground, I'm doubtful they're even useful for the compost - about all I can do with them is send them to a sawmill and hope there's a market for 2" x 4" lengths of untreated structural carrot.
That lovely purple veneer that has captured the hearts and minds of this country has a tendency to stain everything else purple, too. Have a look at my chopping board. It looks like whatever I killed there put up a hell of a fight, and now no amount of scrubbing can conceal the evidence. If only it had the same effect on the orange laminate you've all come to know and love as my kitchen.
But worst of all is how it splashes all over the place when you cut up a juicy purple carrot. The light coloured clothing I was wearing now only looks marginally better than the last time that red sock found its way into the wash - and that's only because they're not pink polka-dots I'm covered in. It makes me wonder if the whole purple carrot craze is secretly funded by NapiSan, or a large conglomerate of textile companies.
In short, I won't be doing this again in a hurry. Orange is definitely the new purple next season.