The lowly carrot. Ever at the ready and often overlooked in the tomb of the vegetable drawer, a forlorn tool for shoveling hummus or an afterthought in a salad. Once in a while, when they are lucky, a shred or two will find its way into my instant ramen. These carrots are not grown but merely found. Rigid soldiers, straight postured with dull orange skin, dutifully they wait under plastic at the neighborhood grocery nary a blemish, nor inspiration.
Now enter the lowly carrot, freshly born and dug from the earth. Mottled with soil, jewel-like reds, purples and yellows electrify against the grit. Their tight, strong tuft of emerald fronds stretch proudly skyward, hardly aware of their size. In spring, they are adolescent; gangly, awkward and twisted. Grassy sweetness from winter’s defrost cycle. In fall and winter, they are heavy, broad and glistening, plump with luminous internal shine. These creatures are from the same mother, but are born on two different planets. The specimens from the latter, cared for and conscientiously forgotten in-ground until their turn. Striking in design, color and flavor, they conjure a rainbow of imaginative preparations. A sweetness unlike any other ground dwelling vegetable, these are to be celebrated; put down into the cellar, and acted upon when the desire for something unexpectedly beautiful and delicious strikes.