It’s difficult to imagine that something so popular and adorable can come from something unwanted and grotesque. But it’s true and it all began 26 years ago when Mike Yurosek got tired of seeing 400 tons of culls drop down the waste shoot every day.
Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent, or broken to sell, but just as healthy and delicious to eat. In 1986, Yurosek started out by cutting and peeling the culls into something small enough to make use of their straight parts. He later went on to buy a frozen food company that was going out of business and an industrial green bean cutter, which cut the carrots into 2 inch pieces (their standard size).
When they had been cut, Yurosek loaded the carrots into an industrial potato peeler to take off the peel and smooth down the edges. Thus the baby carrot was born. After a few rounds of trials and an investment in some bagging machinery, he sent some of these carrots to a Vons supermarket in Los Angeles. The next day they called and said, “We only want those.”
The baby carrots exploded (not literally of course; that would be a tragedy) all across the nation. Stories paid 10 cents a bag for whole carrots and sold them 17 cents, but 50 cents for a 1-pound package of baby carrots and sold them for $1. Today, baby carrots are a part of more breakfasts, lunches, dinners, after school snacks, and unsuccessful diets, than ever before.