EDINBURG, Texas—A maroon- and orange-coloured carrot originally bred on a whim by a research scientist is proving to be a valuable commodity for south Texas grower J&D Produce.
Leonard Pike, Ph.D., originally produced the carrot to match the school colours of Texas A&M University, where he was stationed in the Vegetable Improvement Center. Upon analysis, he discovered the carrots contain more vitamin A, more antioxidants and 40 per cent more beta-carotene.
Pike sold the veggie to J&D, which has been producing the GMO-free carrots commercially for the past three years. A company spokesman said Maroon Carrots, as they are known, are being distributed in most US states as well as Canada.
Overcoming consumer ignorance was the most difficult obstacle. "It's taken some time but with anything new you've got to educate the people," he pointed out. "We've done that with point-of-sale information and other education campaigns."
He said sales have increased by about 50 per cent in the past year.