A few weeks ago, we asked if ketchup could be innovative. Now we are going to ask if a vegetable can be innovative. Why not?

Several months ago one of my children asked me where baby carrots came from. While this is a much easier question than where actual babies come from, it was a question I couldn’t answer.  Recently I ran across the answer and I was truly amazed.

In the mid 1980’s a California carrot farmer named Mike Yurosek was frustrated with the number of carrots he couldn’t take to market. A large percentage of carrots do not grow in the proper shape, the one we see Bugs Bunny nibbling on. These carrots are deformed or “ugly carrots.” Industry estimates are that one-third of carrots are not pretty enough to sell in stores. But, like many people, while they are not attractive on the outside, they are still great on the inside.

Yurosek searched for a way to sell the “ugly carrots.” He knew he needed to change their looks.  At first he worked by hand.  Soon he combined an industrial green bean cutter with an industrial potato peeler and created a small peeled product which he named baby carrots. He sold them to some stores and the baby carrots became an immediate hit. It is now estimated that baby carrots are a 400 million dollar a year product. To succeed, Yurosek left the path that everyone else followed and was clearly rewarded.

So yes, a carrot can be innovative. Yurosek used what was considered waste and with the help of a new process he created a new product that he took to market.  Not as flashy as innovating in the high tech area, but still incredibly innovative. So, the question we should ask ourselves is what do we have sitting around or are throwing away that could become the great new innovation?

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