Even carrots can be politicised? You learn something new every day!

orange and purple carrots - from http://www.flickr.com/photos/satrina0/From the farming report at the end of tonight’s Evening Extra.

[Richard Wright] … the vegetables that are grown and sold have always reflected changes in society. But the oddest claim is that carrots which are naturally a purple colour were bred as we know them today as part of an underground political strategy.

[Christopher Stocks] We think carrots probably came to Britain with Protestant Dutch people fleeing from Holland at the time of the Inquisition. Bizarrely, Holland in the fifteen hundreds was part of the Spanish Habsburg empire who were Catholic and rather disapproved of the Calvinists popping up all over the place. A lot of them fled and they took their carrots with them. We think it’s possible they bred the orange carrots as an underground resistance symbol in honour of William of Orange who was the local resistance fighter at the time.

I fully expect Orange Men to be throwing carrots to crowds lining pavements on the Twelfth next summer, and for calls to be made in the Assembly for local supermarkets to stock purple carrots alongside their orange counterparts …

Photo from Satrina0 via Flickr