The Murky Ethics of the Ugly-Produce Business

Do you know what baby carrots actually are?

For me, the baby-carrot jig was up a couple years ago. I’m not sure what I’d believed about them previously: Were they actual babies? Were they a “baby” breed of small adult carrots? I certainly hadn’t understood them to be carrot nuggets, whittled out of big, ugly carrots that many people wouldn’t buy in their natural state.

I’ve never lived in a world that wanted me to think about how the carrots got made. Since the early 1980s, scores of smaller American agricultural companies have been driven out of business or gobbled up by Big-Ag conglomerates. That I hadn’t thought much about my little carrots meant the system had worked as intended for the type of consumer I am (affluent, urban) and helped obscure the leviathan of the American food-supply chain, which includes everything from commercial growers and processors like Dole and Kraft Heinz down to local farmers’ markets and food banks.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: The Atlantic