I thought it would be fun recreating the carrot cake oatmeal I enjoyed during a Grimmway Farms trip I took last summer. I loved it and knew I’d have to make it at home. Their version is healthier than this one (no sugar). I had to doctor it up as my hubby is not a regular fan of oatmeal. But either version you make, you will love this stuff!! My husband called it dessert for breakfast and it was perfect for a Sunday morning.
And speaking of carrots, have I shared with you all that one of my family members “created” the baby carrot? Yes, the ones we all eat today. Sit down and relax and I’m going to take you all on a little carrot journey.
Last summer I was invited on a media trip to Grimmway Farms, the world’s largest grower/packer/shipper of fresh and processed carrots and owner’s of the Cal-Organic, Bunny-Luv and King Pak produce labels.
I love going on these trips and meeting the families who own these companies and farm our foods. However, there was another reason I was a little bit excited to head down to Bakersfield, California. A family member, and my father’s best friend, Mike Yurosek, referred affectionately in some circles as “The Father of Baby Carrots” created/invented baby carrots as we know and love them today.
The Bunny-Luv label was his business, and was acquired by Grimmway Farms around 1995. Back in the 60’s, Mike was frustrated with the waste factor of the knobby, twisted and broken carrots that would come in for processing. They were not sellable and were often more than half of the carrots that came into the plant.
His idea to take the carrots that were normally waste and use an industrial potato peeler to cut them down (along with some other processing equipment) was the beginning of the baby carrots we know today. There is so much more to this great story, but the baby carrot lives on through Grimmway Farms. I was so happy to see the Yurosek’s family legacy carried on by another wonderful family-owned company like Grimmway.
At one of the farms we visited, it just so happened one of the old Bunny-Luv trailers (remember seeing these on the roads) was parked on site. I was thrilled to see it and it brought back so many memories of my childhood.
Do you see the logo, it was drawn by Mike’s wife after Warner Bros. was unhappy with the Bug’s Bunny-ish logo Bunny-Luv was previously using. Instead of heading to court to fight it out, Mike’s wife free-hand drew about 50 bunnies. Mike sent them to Warner Bros. and asked, which one can we use? So essentially, Warner Bros ended up choosing the logo you see on the Bunny-Luv bags today. Kind of cool huh?
Anyway, I do have the coolest job in the world. The media trips I get to go on are always fabulous and extremely educational. I also get to meet people from all over the country who are doing amazing things.
Best part, even with the most crucial planning, funny things happen. We were supposed to have a regular large transport vehicle for our time at the farm. However, what arrived was the gigantic party bus that was sent by mistake…ha-ha. Quite a few jokes were made with this thing.
And no media trip would be complete without a stay at a swanky hotel. I have to admit, Bakersfield has come a long way with its newest boutique hotel, The Padre. This is the front desk and the rest of the place is equally as gorgeous.
We had our dinner at the Padre the first evening. Here we (Jennifer, Sharon, Melinda, myself, Jennifer) are hanging at the Padre’s outdoor sport’s bar. It was so old-school “Palm Spring’s” with the misters and outdoor scenery going. And it was HAWT. I had forgotten about that kind of heat, but it felt good. It did cool down nicely in time for our dinner, made with lots of produce farmed by Grimmway.
- Golden Beet Carpaccio Salad (verjus vinaigrette radish chips, onion petals, carrot sorbet and shaved goat cheese)
- Crispy Skin Chicken (creamy carrot risotto with wilted rainbow chard)
- Carrot Napoleon (layers of carrot pastry cream, crispy filo, whipped berry cream cheese, carrot powder & mixed berries with mint
The meal was incredible, healthy and overall delicious.
We headed out at 6 AM the next morning, with a full agenda and a lot to see.
Grimmway Farms had lots to share when it came to their sustainable farming practices, innovative seed development and showing us how they harvest carrots.
Honestly, once you learn where your food comes from and understand how it gets to your table, you never look at it the same way again.
And yes, we got to ride the carrot harvesters. These machines are massive and gave us a bird’s eye view on how it’s all done.
The carrots are pulled out of the ground, destemmed and put into a truck that follows very closely. This is an efficient process that gets the carrots to the processing plant soon after picking.
A recently harvested green been field set against the mountain backdrop in the Cuyama Valley.
The “carrot flower” turns pale-pink before opening and then bright white and round in full bloom. It gets nest-like and concave in shape before seeding and falling off the plant, eventually turning into tumbleweeds.
One the most interesting parts of my trip was a visit to Grimmway Academy and their edible schoolyard. This is an independent, public charter school founded by the Grimm Family Education Foundation and a successful example of what can happen when families give back to their community.
The edible schoolyard is integrated fully into the school’s curriculum. Students learn to grow, harvest, prepare and eat the food they cultivate. The picture you see above is the luncheon we enjoyed from food made and grown on site. With an amazing staff, who shares in the academy’s vision, an incredible environment has been created for the children in this rural community.
The Cal-Organic kale farms were beautiful. It was kale for as far as your eye could see.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup diced and peeled Granny Smith apple
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups dry, old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons agave syrup
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute carrots and apple until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add carrot-apple mixture to a pot with milk and water and bring to a boil. Add oatmeal, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking for 5 minutes more. Stir in raisins, sugar, agave, vanilla and cinnamon. Continue cooking until creamy, about 5 minutes more.
- Serving size: 1-1/4 cup
- Calories: 349
- Fat: 6 g
- Saturated fat: 2 g
- Unsaturated fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 69 g
- Sugar: 38 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 9 mg
Thanks to Grimmway Farms for this incredible opportunity to see where my food comes from and meet all who make it happen.
Disclosure: Travel and expenses were paid for by Grimmway Farms, however all opinions about them and my trip are 100% my own. When possible, please support this wonderful family-owned brand that is out doing great work for their community.