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Carrots are native to the part of the world that encompasses Afghanistan, India, and eastern Russia. Ladies at the court of Queen Elizabeth I adorned their hair with carrot tops. When the British Navy blockaded West Indian sugar from entering Europe in the 18th century, chemists made sugar from organic carrots, much as sugar is still extracted from beets (incidentally, rabbits much prefer beets to carrots).

Carrots were originally white, yellow, or violet; the orange, carotene-laden root we are familiar with today was developed by the Dutch.

Commercially grown "baby carrots" are often no such thing, but full-grown carrots hacked into miniatures, just as "chicken tenders" resemble no part of any natural-grown chicken.

Because carrots traditionally would not overwinter past March, whether in storage or the field, a sweet carrot pie was a common late-winter dessert on American family farms.

Coffee grounds make superb fertilizer for growing carrots. Radishes are good plant-buddies to carrots: radishes planted in the same rows as carrots break the soil for delicate carrot seedlings and are natural preventers of overcrowding. And, when the radishes are harvested before the young carrots are taken out of the ground, the carrots will grow into the space vacated by the radishes.

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