- Episode 12 Carrot
Episode 12 Carrot
Carrots: Yay or Nay?
Carrots are a unique vegetable and as a result, children have always been either carrot-lovers or carrot-haters. But, recently, supermarkets seem to be filled with super-sweet carrots. Well, wouldn't you know it, Sakata Seed Corporation is behind this!
Carrots are largely classified into Oriental (Kintoki carrots, etc.) and European types. European carrots have been cultivated in Japan as far back as the late 1700's. Most of the carrots currently sold in Japan are European types.
Some carrot seeds until early 1950's were revived from seeds introduced during the middle of the Meiji Era (Meiji Era: 1868-1912) so their harvest was not very uniform. With the Kinko Sansun which we announced in 1955, the traits became fixed due to selection and the character improved, becoming somewhat of a "hit" product.
The Kinko Sansun was then used to produce the Natsumaki Kinko Gosun and Harumaki Kinko Gosun, as well as other acclaimed varieties, and the traditionally summer planted and winter harvested carrot became an all-year-round cultivatable vegetable.
In 1963, a rival company introduced the F1 hybrid, a variety that was said to be very difficult to breed. As is typical of an F1 hybrid variety, it had high uniformity and was highly praised by producers and distributers. Since being developed into a series, it has come to virtually dominate the market.
Our response to the F1 carrot came in 1995 with the introduction of the Beta Rich. Though various F1 hybrid varieties had been introduced up until that time, the Beta Rich was completely different to existing F1 varieties. It did not have the pungent smell that used to characterize the carrot and it drew attention for being particulary sweet. Also, compared with the traditional carrot, it was high in total caroten content.
However, lights is usually followed by shadows, and Beta Rich's cultivation method and shape differed from our rival companies' products that were mainstream at the time, so convincing producers and distributors of its merits was a difficult process. However, thanks to reliable local growing advice, these issues were gradually resolved and the Beta Rich became established in the market.
The Beta Rich was then converted to the Beta 312 and Beta 441 series. After that, Sakata incorporated them into the Beta Carrot fruits and vegetables brand, which was marketed directly to consumers through large supermarkets, etc. With its rabbit motif, it quickly became a favorite.
In fact, that sweet, juicy carrot you recently ate was most likely a Beta Carrot!