Multicoloured carrots from Swaffham on sale in supermarkets

Everyone is told how important it is to eat their greens but some lucky shoppers will now be able to eat multicoloured carrots grown in Swaffham.

The vegetable has been produced by family business Alan Bartlett and Sons, based in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, and is on the shelves of just over 200 Tesco stores across the country.

Originally developed by the Bejo company in Holland 15 years ago, the seeds for the rainbow carrot bunches were sown in a field between Swaffham and nearby Cockley Cley in May.

Harvesting the fully grown vegetable started two weeks ago, where they are hand-picked, and have been in the Tesco stores for just over a week.

The carrots - which range from white to dark orange - are produced from the hybrid crop which is “unusual”, according to Pete Saunders, technical manager at Alan Bartlett and Sons.

The vegetable can be tangerine, yellow, amber and even purple but despite the different appearance they all taste the same.

Mr Bartlett said: “I think it is a great idea to present a different format of carrot to the consumer to drive sales and encourage healthy eating and I think the kids will love them.

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“If you don’t do anything new and put the same thing in front of consumers, they get bored. Hopefully this variety will do well.

“Tesco are a very big retail operation and they get a lot of suppliers trying to get new produce on the shelf and Tesco will only put things on the shelf which work. It is good kudos for them and us. The carrots look very attractive and have a novelty factor.”

The carrots will be on sale until the end of October for a trial period but if they are successful with shoppers Alan Bartlett and Sons hope to grow the vegetable on other fields.

Currently they produce parsnips and different varieties of carrots over four thousand acres of farmland in East Anglia and parts of Scotland.

Tesco vegetable buyer Steve Williams, added: “These stunning looking carrot bunches will not only brighten up the dinner table, they should also create an instant wow factor with kids and will hopefully encourage them to eat their five-a-day.

“Our sales show that unusually coloured fruit and veg are popular with shoppers and feedback reveals that parents find them helpful in their battle to get youngsters to eat healthily.”