Ever wondered how those extremely fresh Ooty carrots land up on the shelves of the supermarket near your place? Ever thought about the number of processes that are carried out before the lovely orange carrots are transported from the hills of Ooty to cities like yours and mine? I had never given a thought to all of that…. so, naturally, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to watch sacks and sacks of carrots being prepared for sale throughout India, from a tiny field in Ooty, on our visit there last year. It has made me much, much, much conscious of what I am eating, and the long route that my food takes before it gets on my plate every day.
Fields of carrots and cabbages abound in Ooty, more than those of any other vegetables I have seen, at least. The climate in Ooty is conducive to growing vegetables of great quality, which have a wonderful, fresh taste. I was super excited to see carrot fields – only the green tops visible above the surface, in the neat rows in which the seeds have been planted. All that green was a visual treat to my city-jaded eyes. 🙂
There are a number of workers engaged in plucking these carrots – when the time is just right – and the harvest is gathered in sacks, kept ready for the next process in line. The carrots from the sacks are emptied – tops and all – into a huge tray that is a part of an even more huge, very noisy machine.
The carrots then pass through a big chute-like structure in the machine, which is connected to a source of water. They are rotated, rinsed and washed in the chute, ensuring that they come out squeaky clean from the other end.
The washed carrots are then manually sorted – after giving them another thorough wash – the bad ones discarded and the good ones packed in sacks, according to their size.
The sacks are then stitched up and.. voila! They are ready to be loaded on trucks, which will set them on the way to their final destinations.
So, that is how the carrots from the fields of Ooty land up in plastic bags in stores near us, tempting us with their freshness, hinting at the deliciousness of carrot halwa or kheer. 🙂