Everything's Coming up Carrots, in Holtville

Crunchy, flavorful, carotene-tastic: It's a full-on festival devoted to the healthy veg.

CHALLENGE A FOODIE FRIEND... to come up with a dozen snacks or treats that can arrive on a plate in coin form, and your pal, if he has a sweet tooth, might list various types of chocolates and candies. All true, and such sugary fare can make for a very compelling coin, but there's a root vegetable out there, one that already comes in a very coin-ready shape. And if you find one that's long enough? You can cut a mountain of coins, or at least a plate-filling hill. It's the...

AMAZING CARROT... we speak of, a hearty, crunchy, filling, green-topped wonder that is great on salads, zingy in juices, and awesome on its own. That the carrot can be nicely gnawed upon in its original long-ish and pointy form is fabulous, but many cooks like to create coins, or shreds, or slivers, or completely pulverize it, all to fashion an especially silky soup. And let us not forget the many desserts that look to a carrot's ultimate lusciousness, including a certain cream-cheesy cake.

IF YOU'RE COMMITTED TO CARROTS, and you find yourself longing for their beta-carotene-tastic benefits quite frequently, there's a happy place where carrot cool rules: It's Holtville, which will again honor the orange (and/or white and/or yellow and/or purple) icon over several wintertime days during the 72nd annual Carrot Festival and Street Fair. Those days in 2019 will begin at the start of February, on Feb. 1, with the "Crowning of Carrot Festival Royalty." A festival and a carnival are also on the schedule, over the second weekend of the month, so read all.

HOW DO YOU LIKE CARROTS BEST? When they're cut like coins? Or served like a vegan hot dog? Or in a carrot cake? Oh yeah. Best head for Holtville, a town that charmingly proclaims that "Our Carrots Make the U.S.A. Grate."

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