(March 4, 3:05 p.m.) Four new colored carrot varieties, two purples and two yellows, are just hitting the commercial market from Parma, Idaho-based Nunhems USA.

The four carrots bring the company’s colored carrot line up to eight items — four purples, two yellows, a cream and a sherbert — said Russ Kabaker, crop sales manager for carrots and salads in the Americas. Nunhems is Monheim, Germany-based Bayer CropScience’s vegetable seed business, with world headquarters in The Netherlands.

Kabaker said the new yellow varieties, yellowpak and yellowbunch, replace the company’s two year-old yellow carrot, sunlite. No other varieties are being discontinued at this point.

Nunhems entered the colored carrot market four years ago, Kabaker said, with a cream-colored carrot called cream de lite. The next year, it released two purples and its sherbert, which is a light orange. Sunlite came next, but it’s being replaced by yellowpak and yellowbunch.

“The colored carrot category is a fairly new category, and it’s showing a quick evolution of material,” Kabaker said. “More and more refined material is making its way to the market.”

That refining is geared toward making varieties taste better and grow more predictably, with uniform color.

In the purple category, Kabaker said Nunhems is taking two different approaches, one for a fresh-market carrot, with a goal of a lighter, more maroon color, and the other toward a juicing carrot with high neutraceuticals.

Salinas, Calif.-based Colorful Harvest LLC and Bakersfield, Calif.-based Grimmway Farms grow colored carrots using Nunhems’ seeds, and both have been doing field trials with the new varieties, Kabaker said. He expects the new varieties to appear in some of their products soon.

“A lot of our carrots are from Nunhems, but we also work with other seed suppliers,” said Lisa McNeece, vice president of foodservice and industrial sales for Grimmway Farms.

One of Grimmway’s colored carrot products, yellow and orange shredded carrots packaged for foodservice and retail, has prospects of expanding its color repertoire as more colored carrots emerge.

After these releases, Nunhems probably won’t have any new colors until at least 2010, when it hopes to debut a red carrot and an improved cream-colored carrot, Kabaker said.

Nunhems expands line of colored carrots
Parma, Idaho-based Nunhems USA has added some varieties to its line of colored carrots, bringing the line up to eight items — four purples, two yellows, a cream and a sherbert — says Russ Kabaker, crop sales manager for carrots and salads in the Americas.

Courtesy Nunhems USA