Last August I planted two large beds of carrots for winter use. Here in the Willamette Valley they can usually be left in the ground and will last until Spring, although exceptionally cold weather can freeze the top of the roots which cause them to rot. Fortunately, I had row cover over them during the really cold weather early in the winter and it kept them from freezing, in fact the tops even stayed green. A bed of summer carrots that was uncovered froze and rotted immediately on thawing.
I grew St. Valery from www.growitalian.com and Scarlet Keeper from Fedco. The Scarlet Keeper is intended as a storage carrot and is supposed to have good flavor in storage. Both of them did really well, producing large roots. The St. Valery ended up looking like an imperator type carrot, many of them 8″ long and fairly thin, with good orange color and no core. The Scarlet Keeper look more like a Danvers, wide at the top and tapering down in a triangular shape to the tip, very blocky. The color was much lighter, but again no core to speak of and pretty good flavor.
Either of them would have worked fine, but when I picked both I always seemed to end up eating all the St. Valery first, they look better and I think they have a better flavor, but all of them end up being eaten as I eat a ton or carrots in the winter, both raw and cooked.
I may end up doing the same thing next winter, growing a couple of varieties as it’s always good to have some diversity in the garden, but I think I’ll try one I’ve had my eye on fora while, Napoli from Johnny’s, I’ve heard good things about it.
One final recommendation for www.growitalian.com. Their carrot seed is from Italy and is very high quality at a very reasonable bulk price, much cheaper than either Fedco or Johnny’s for an ounce or two. Carrot seed is a tough one to grow high quality seed, be sure to buy your from a really good source, there’s a lot of poor quality carrot seed on the market.