Nice headline, if I may say so myself. Which, since this is my blog, I am. I should clarify, though, that by “community” I basically mean “me.” Nonetheless, this is a big story for baby carrot crunchers: the King of Baby Carrots, Robert Grimm, died recently.
At age 54. Of a heart attack. When I saw this in TIME’s “Milestones” section I almost choked. On a baby carrot.
I eat a lot of baby carrots. My wife makes me. At the age of 57 I still need babying. “This is why,” Laurel tells me, “married men live longer than single men. They’ve got wives who nag them to eat healthy.”
After I’ve chomped down a Gardenburger on a slice of whole wheat bread for lunch, often I’ll hear a voice coming from the kitchen. “Have you eaten your veggies?!” “No, I haven’t,” I reply. A few minutes later Laurel will hand me a bowl of baby carrots, celery pieces, and sliced cucumber. I dutifully munch away on it.
So it was a shock to read of Grimm’s premature death. Premature, because he was three years younger than me. I don’t like it when a guy younger than me dies of a heart attack. Especially if he’s got a strong connection with baby carrots. I’ve been counting on those suckers to keep me going until I’m 100.
The LA Times story says that Grimm’s father died at 91. You’d think that the man who led the company which became the market leader in baby carrots would eat healthy enough to surpass his dad in longevity. I began wondering, “Could there be a secret health risk in baby carrots? Should I toss them away when Laurel brings me my veggie bowl?”
Some Googling obviously was called for. Robert Grimm lived in Bakersfield, California. I found a story in The Bakersfield Californian (registration required) that had more details about Grimm and his family. I read it nervously. I was afraid it would say, “Grimm was a vegetarian who believed in eating organic foods. Baby carrots were a big part of his diet.”
Just like me. That’d be hugely disturbing. If guys younger than me die of heart attacks, I want them to have been big meat-eaters. Plus overweight and non-exercisers. Unlike me.
I came across a few paragraphs that weren’t encouraging:
Brett, Grimm's 16-year-old son, said his father would joke with him about having his five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Brett tried to convince his father that potatoes should count, but Grimm called them a negative two, his son said with a laugh.
Shit! This sort of implied that Grimm himself ate lots of fruits and vegetables. Just like me. If that were the case, it wouldn’t be that great of a logical leap to conclude that I was living on borrowed time. I read on, desperate to come across some lifestyle dirt on Grimm.
And there it was. Bingo!
Brett remembered the hunting and fishing, the encouragement to stand up straight and his father's love.
Vegetarians rarely hunt or fish. Grimm clearly was a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Well, meat at least. It was hard to reconcile the “potatoes” part with the “negative two” comment. In my own mind, the only place that counts, I conjured up a mental image of a hard-driving, cholesterol-consuming guy who only occasionally ate a baby carrot when he checked out the packaging plant.
So fear not, baby carrot community. Our leader may be gone at age 54, but we need not worry that our days will be so minimally numbered. We will continue to eat our veggies—without meaties.
Thank you, Mr. Grimm, for popularizing this wonderful healthy snack. May you live long and prosper in Baby Carrot Heaven.