Growers are highlighting the unusual harvesting methods of British carrots to raise awareness of the start of the new season.

New season carrots, which are regarded as having a superior sweet taste and tender skin, are harvested at night to avoid the sun's rays. The British Carrot Growers' Association has been publicising the method in press coverage over the past fortnight.

Carrot sales, excluding speciality lines, have seen strong growth over the past year, with values up 10% to £235m and volumes rising 5% to 321,000 tonnes, the BCGA reported. A cold winter and the resurgence of home cooking have been credited with helping to boost sales.

Additional promotional activity has included a carrot carnival in Norfolk last month, where farmers ran a Captain Carrot theatre show, farm tour and new season carrot tastings. As well as promoting the new season, the initiatives aimed to get children more enthused about eating the vegetable.

A survey was also commissioned to discover the nation's favourite "carrot top", with TV presenter Anne Robinson beating Prince Harry and actress Catherine Tate to the title.