The Paris Market carrot, also known as Tonda di Parigi or Marché de Paris, is a round heirloom variety from the 19th century. This ancient French root vegetable is actually perfect for contemporary needs: it does well where other carrots would struggle – for example in shallow, clay-rich or rocky soil. Even better, as the carrots grow just 5 cm in diameter, they’re a perfect choice for containers.
What these small carrots lack in size, they make up for in flavour – they are deliciously tender, bite-sized, and extra sweet, with very smooth skin. They are a fantastic market seller and are very popular with kids because of their ping-pong-ball shape. They’re also a favourite with gourmet chefs, and you’re bound to love the sweetness of this old Parisian, too!
Timing: Germination - 7-20 days, Harvesting - 50-70 days
Spacing: When sowing - 1-3 cm, Depth - 0.5cm. When transplanting - 10-15 cm
Growing: Sunlight - Full sun to partial shade, Soil - Well-drained, light and moist soil. Watering - Regular heavy watering. Feeding - Light feeder
Caring: Carrot seeds are small, but it’s wise to plant them as thinly as possible. Once the seedlings have developed their first leaves, thin them out to minimise competition and enable the carrots to grow quickly to harvest size.
Pollinators - When allowed to flower, carrots are a huge attraction for bees and butterflies.
Pests - Grow aromatic companion plants to repel carrot fly.
Harvesting: Start pulling up your carrots as soon as they develop a 2–3 cm bright-orange root. Grasp the tops firmly and tug gently – most of the time, the carrots will come out fairly easily.
Medicinal properties - The old saying suggests that carrots are good for your eyes – can anybody prove that there’s no truth in that?!
How to eat - There’s no better way to enjoy Paris Market carrots than the following: wash and cut in half, leaving the tops on. Add olive oil or butter, plus herbs, salt and pepper. Bake the carrots until they’re tender and well roasted. To make them even more indulgent, add some honey and allow them to caramelise in the oven.
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