Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., is changing the way it processes carrots, using “eco-friendly” carrot wash stations at its Westmoreland, Calif., farm to reduce the amount of soil on the carrots before shipping them to Bakersfield.

Bolthouse Farms reduces waste in carrot washes

The elimination of soil weight has reduced fuel use by more than 317,000 gallons between February-May 2009, according to company, and prevented 55,000 tons of soil from being moved out of carrot fields.

Chuck Seitz, director of grower relations, said carrot harvest starts in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys in February and runs until mid-May. Trucks travel 700 miles round from the fields to Bakersfield for processing, but in 2009 the company started washing carrots near winter harvesting areas.

Seitz said 85% of the Bolthouse’s Imperial crop is washed with the new process.

Seitz said the company uses the wash stations at the Peter Rabbit packing facility in the Coachella Valley, which saves an estimated average of 79,000 gallons of fuel per season.

Prior to the change, unwashed carrots were pulled from the ground covered with dirt, increasing their weight and using more fuel to transport them to the processing facility, according to a news release. The soil would be hauled off-site once the carrots were washed.

Bolthouse Farms uses recycled packaging for all product lines and has the largest solar panel farming operation in the country, according to the release.