Baby carrots are not actually young carrots, or even carrots that are grown specifically to be small. In fact, the concept of the baby carrot was born 21 years ago by a California farmer wanting to sell more of his carrots that he was throwing away due to imperfections -- they were too knobby, twisted or broken.
After cutting the less-than-perfect carrots down to a uniformly smaller size, they were fed through an industrial potato peeler to smooth the edges and remove the skin. This marked the birth of the "baby" carrot market.
The success of baby carrots may be a reflection of the desire for food that is uniform in appearance and taste, and for food that is sterile, prewashed, and prepackaged.