The area known as Central Oregon has the highest concentration of Hybrid Carrot Seed growing in one area in the world which from here goes on to produce most of the United States’ fresh carrots. It grosses approximately $18 million dollars a year. Carrot seed has a 14 month crop cycle if planted seed to seed, planted in August and harvested in October of the next year. Or carrot stecklings can be planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. Hybrid carrot seed requires isolation; most varieties require one mile while others can require up to five miles. Carrot fields cannot be planted back to back in the same field. So the placement of fields every year requires precision by the contracting company and collaboration from growers.
This year all crop production in the area is two to three weeks behind. Farmers are hurrying to get the 2011 crop harvested so they can plant 2012′s crop in the next few weeks. Other crops grown in Central Oregon include bluegrass seed, wheat, mint, onion seed, garlic seed, alfalfa, native grasses, wildflower seed, seed potatoes and some sugar beet seed.
Thank you to the farmers who have helped educate me on carrot seed and let me take pictures of their crops!
Fun Fact: Since the introduction of baby-cut carrots in 1989 the United States’ consumption has quadrupled to almost 11 pounds per person annually