Egyptian cave paintings dating back to around 2000BC show what is thought to be purple carrots; the orange varieties we are familiar with today were not developed until the 16th century. Donated by the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Virginia, USA, this purple carrot produces 20-25cm roots that, when sliced, reveal a bright yellow core. They have a more pronounced 'carroty' flavour than orange varieties, and also show some resistance to carrot root fly.
Named after our donor who, in the 1970s, developed a pure line of purple carrots from four he found amongst a bag given to him for his rabbits by an allotment neighbour. He passed on some of his seeds to Horticulture Research International, now part of Warwick University, for their long-term preservation. With John's consent, some were released to us. John describes them as “crisp and flavoursome”.
Originally from Finland, this traditional early 'short horn' type carrot has very wide, stumpy, deep red-orange roots. Shows some resistance to both drought and carrot root fly. Guardian Anne St. John notes that they have a mild flavour and are good boiled, steamed or grated in salads. They freeze (un-blanched) and store well.