Origin: Guérande, France
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~200
Germination tested 12/2022: 63%
Life cycle: Biennial
Known in French as "Carotte Rouge Demi-courte de Guérande," this is a famous and beloved heirloom from the medieval town of Guérande in the Loire-Atlantique region of western France. It is a very distinctive carrot. Weighing up to a pound, these thick roots grow well in heavy clay. When grown well, it only reaches about 6" long but might be 5" wide at the shoulder. They can sometimes be as wide as they are long! Yet despite it size it is not fibrous. 'Rouge Demi-courte de Guérande' grows best in rich light loam. It was perfected in Nantes in the 1870s and introduced to American growers in the 1880s. It was a staple in the famous Vilmorin seed catalogue (illustration here is from Vilmorin's 1904 edition). The outer flesh is red-orange, with a paler, almost yellow core. By all accounts, it is tender and delicate with an excellent flavor.
Our seed was grown by EFN co-founder Dusty Hinz and Kass McKinnon and Clint Freund of Cultivating the Commons. They got this strain from Wisconsin seed saver Thomas C. Jerde.
GROWING TIPS: Foliage is relatively sparse, so plantings should be kept well weeded or hoed. This variety can be planted somewhat earlier than other carrots, when soil is still pretty cool (50 degrees F/10 C). Keep well watered. This variety comes from a maritime environment and so is well-adapted for cool, damp soil.