By S. Olanrewaju Disu.
ARTICLE SIXTEEN : CARROT.
In Lagos area markets, carrot is available all-year round. Carrot is scientifically known as “ Daucus carota” of the family “ Umbelliferae”. It is native to Europe , North Africa and Asia. However, some parts of northern Nigeria, whose climate and other edaphic factors are close in similarity to the temperate areas mentioned above, support the growth and cultivation of carrots.
The carrot is a biennial herb with a usually orange-coloured and spindle-shaped edible root. Being a biennial plant, it is theoretically supposed to be appearing every two years- i.e. growing vegetatively during the first year and fruiting and dying during the second. Practically, however, the availability of large land mass and perennial carrot cultivation by both peasant and large-scale farmers in the north make carrots available in Lagos markets from time to time.
Like most agricultural products in our markets, however, there are times when carrots are in season and sell cheaply, and at other times, when they are in short supply and cost more.
Carrot is erroneously thought to be food for the elite among our populace, who consume exotic foods like salad , “jollof –rice”,etc. But continuous education in the news media have drawn people’s attention to the importance of high inclusion of vegetables, carrots included, in our diets because of the numerous nutrients they supply to the body.
Experts educate us everyday that people who consume lots of vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, eye problems and even cancer.
Carrots contain Vitamin C and experts tell us that it is good in the prevention and treatment of scurvy and as an antioxidant. Carrot-eating is good in balancing one’s vegetable intake between the orange/red and green varieties. Experts say the more colorful one’s choice, the healthier it usually is . Carrot also has fiber which helps control blood glucose levels and reduces cholesterol . The importance of carrots in our markets cannot be over-emphasized.
Freshly arrived carrots from farmlands in the north at the “ Mile 12” Wholesale Market”.
Carrots, washed and ready for sale on retail basis at “ Oshodi” and “Ejigbo” retail markets.