Are There Round Carrots?

French, Parisian carrots were the round carrots of our ancestors being introduced in the States around 1861.

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Bundle of  small orange carrots

Bundle of small orange carrots

Photo by: Shutterstock/Melica

Shutterstock/Melica

Round or radish-type carrots were introduced to the United States after 1861. These carrots are not new to our generation; they have been around since the turn of the century. The French are responsible and it is historically stated that these round carrots were often used in roasts or fancier food preparations. This heirloom carrot goes by many names, but since it was introduced by the French, I’m sure the name was initially ‘Tonda di Parigi’ which translates to “round of Paris”. Typically, once a plant or seed gets State side with a name that can’t be pronounced by most it is changed. With researching it shows that ‘Tonda di Parigi’ is also known as ‘Paris Market’, ‘Parisian Market’, ‘Parisienne’. It is apparent that the name initially started off as one of these and transformed over the years. It is possible that ‘Thumbelina’ is the same variety, but without genetic seed testing it is impossible to know.

This “French forcing” carrot that has been an heirloom variety that has been passed down for generations and is very popular in Europe but has seen decreasing fanfare here in the States. Bring this great carrot back to popularity. It is ideal for gardeners who are only able to grow in containers or if rocky or clay soil is a struggle in your beds. This radish-shaped carrot will grow perfectly and will result in a sweet harvest that you will not be able to stop raving about.

The carrots are perfectly round and are an amazing conversation starter whether you are giving a garden tour, eating around the dinner table or shopping at the farmer’s market. Kids are especially drawn to them for their small stature. The flavor is legendary and it dates back to the civil war.

Growing mini or round carrots in containers is ideal and works well when teaching students or children about where there food comes from. Carrot seeds are a great way to start gardening for any age as they are easy to grow and the harvest is always fun. If your space is limited, give ‘Tonda di Parigi’ carrots a try, but search for them by the names also listed above as it is more than likely they will be found by those variety names. Learn to harvest twice in one year to make meal time fun throughout all seasons.

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