Around 14 percent of all U.S.-produced carrots are now organic—making carrots one of the highest ranked crops based on the total percentage produced organically, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s Vegetable Crops Research Laboratory in Madison, WI, is leading a five-year Carrot Improvement for Organic Agriculture (CIOA) project to help breeders develop carrots that are tastier, more nutritious, and better able to combat weeds, diseases and pathogens. Researchers are conducting trials with 36 carrot varieties in organic and conventional fields in Wisconsin, Washington, Indiana and California. Varieties are being compared for flavor, productivity, appearance, color, disease resistance and other key traits. Researchers are still evaluating the 16 named carrot varieties and 20 scientific lines selected for the project.
Partnering are researchers from Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Riverside, Washington State University, and the Organic Seed Alliance. The project is funded with a National Institute of Food and Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative grant. //