Back to Titanic Part 1

Season 2 • Episode 2

The wreck of the Titanic lies about 2.4 miles below sea level. Only five submersibles in the world can carry people to that depth—and four of them have been retired or reassigned.

The one remaining sub is something special. First, it holds five people comfortably (instead of two or three uncomfortably). Second, it’s the only one made of carbon fiber. 

And third, you can buy your way onto it. For $250,000, OceanGate Expeditions will take you down to visit the world’s most famous shipwreck. Deep sea is the new outer space.

So when OceanGate invited David Pogue and a “CBS Sunday Morning” crew to join the latest expedition, they jumped at the chance. Here’s what happened during their eight days at sea.

Episode Transcript

Season 2, Episode 2: Back to the Titanic. Part 1.


Theme begins.

On the night of April 14, 1912, on her maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. She tipped nose down, broke in half, and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic. More than 1500 people died.

The wreck was discovered in 1985. Since then, scientists are about they only people who’ve seen the Titanic in person. Until now.

I’m David Pogue, and this is “Unsung Science.”

Yeah, that’s right—there’s going to be a part 2, next week. Because this is a big story.

Now, starting in January 2023, we’re going to treat you to weekly episodes of “Unsung Science.” So this is kind of a bonus episode, a companion to my “CBS Sunday Morning” story about the same adventure.

‘Cause in the podcast, I’ve got a lot more time to tell you about my little getaway to the Titanic. My little extraordinary, thrilling, heartbreaking, maybe a little controversial getaway.

I’m guessing you’ve heard of the Titanic—the supposedly unsinkable passenger liner that set out to steam from Europe to New York—but struck an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage? I think there might have been a movie about it at one point…

In 1985, a team of American and French explorers found the Titanic, using a robotic underwater sub. Here’s oceanographer Bob Ballard, giving a talk about that fateful day: 

BOB: When I found the Titanic, all of a sudden I came in here and it was a wall of steel, rising up out of sight. That is the bilge keel…

For the next couple of decades, a handful of submersibles visited the wreck, primarily for scientific purposes. But by 2005, interest had pretty much died off—until this guy came along.

POGUE: Stockton Rush, thank you for joining us. Can you, in a nutshell, describe this business? 


POGUE: Okay. We’re wrapped!

This is Stockton Rush. If his first and last name ring any kind of a bell, then you must be a history nut. Richard Stockton and Benjamin Rush were two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

This Rush directly descended from both men.

But Stockton’s dream was not to become a statesman.

RUSH: In my whole life, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was part of the tail end of the Apollo crowd. I went and got an aerospace engineering degree. With that goal, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but my eyesight isn’t good enough for that. 

POGUE: Oh, no.

RUSH: I had this epiphany that I didn’t want — it wasn’t about going to space. It was about exploring. It was about finding new life forms. I wanted to be sort of the Captain Kirk. I didn’t want to be the passenger in the back. And I realized that the ocean is the universe. That’s where life is. And it fit very well. It turns out that an aerospace engineering degree actually has helped me do things in the submersible world that people who don’t understand compressible fluid flows didn’t quite figure out. 

His baby is an undersea adventure company called OceanGate. For $250,000, he’ll take you to the bottom of the North Atlantic in a custom-made, experimental submersible, to see the wreck of the Titanic for yourself.

RUSH: It’s a very unusual business. It’s its own category. It’s a new type of travel. It’s sort of on the cutting edge, I think, of the whole adventure travel movement. 

POGUE: Is it kind of like the new rocketry, taking up citizens? 

RUSH: Yes, I think from a procedure standpoint, it’s similar. So, we go through a lot of checklists, a lot of procedures, a lot of sign-offs. The process, the life support systems are basically identical. 

POGUE: Who are the typical clientele for these missions?

RUSH: So, we have clients that are Titanic enthusiasts, which we refer to as Titaniacs. Some of those folks are affluent and some are not. So, we’ve had people who have mortgaged their home to come and do the trip. And we have people who don’t think twice about a trip of this cost. We had one gentleman who had won the lottery. 

By the way—the cost of an OceanGate Titanic adventure has not always been a quarter of a million dollars. The first summer of operation, 2021, a ticket cost only half that much. But then Stockton Rush saw how much people were willing to pay to go to space—and he thought, “Man, I’m leaving money on the table!”

I did not pay a quarter of a million dollars. Rush invited “CBS Sunday Morning” to join his 2022 expedition to the Titanic. And somehow, I got the gig. Thank you, karma.

I mean, inviting media like that is kind of a risky move. If everything goes well, Stockton Rush gets a national news story about his business. But if things go wrong, well, there’s gonna be a camera filming all of it.

From a news perspective, two parts of this OceanGate story were interesting to us. First of all, nobody else is going to the Titanic anymore.

POGUE: What other institutions are doing this regular visit thing to the Titanic? 

RUSH: No one is doing it to the Titanic. So, it’s nobody. The last time anybody went to the Titanic was a brief trip in 2019. And, before that, the last time anybody went in a submersible, I think, was 2005, 2007. So, no one has been down there and no one is planning to go back, except us. 

POGUE: Wow. Why isn’t it the most studied, visited archaeological site in the world?

RUSH: Well, I mean, it’s very difficult to do. It costs a lot to get that ship out there. 

The other thing we found interesting was that this isn’t just a tourism outfit. Every OceanGate expedition to the Titanic also brings scientists aboard, doing actual research. In effect, the paying passengers are subsidizing the science.

POGUE: Are these scientific expeditions or are they adventure travel expeditions? 

RUSH: So, they are a blend. They are technically adventure travel with a science component or a research component or an exploration component. Every dive has a scientific purpose or a research or an exploration purpose, but it is funded by somebody who is looking for an adventure travel experience. 

Now, OceanGate insists on addressing its paying customers with the clumsy five-syllable term “mission specialist.” Before our shoot this summer, they even emailed me a document that basically said, In thy news reporting, thou shalt not use the terms “tourists,” “customers,” or “passengers.” The term is “mission specialists.” 

Well, whatever.

It is true that these people are invited to do actual work on the sub all week.

POGUE: And, how real are the jobs being done by those folks? I mean, is it keep your — 

RUSH: Makework or not? Yes. 

POGUE: Yes, makework. 

RUSH: No. It can be — there are things that are maybe less critical, for example, reviewing video content. You know, you’re not going to hurt anybody if you mess that up. We’ve sort of identified what those things are: cleaning out the sub when it comes back. We got to put new supplies in. Closing the dome, you can double check that easily. So, a lot of those things are easy to do. 

The Titanic lies 400 miles southeast of St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. And yes, that’s how they say it: NEWfoundland. Not newFOUNDland, and not NEWfoundlund. It’s NEWfoundland.

And what’s so special about St Johns? This town happens to sit at the easternmost tippy-tip of all of North America. If you want to sail to the Titanic efficiently, you start there, because that’s as close as land gets.

David Pogue self-video: Welcome to St. Johns. A place so special, it’s got its own time zone: 90 minutes ahead of New York City. 

That’s the third banjo player I’ve seen today.

Our home for the next nine days was going to be a gigantic, blue, industrial ship called the Horizon Arctic, which is ordinarily used for hauling around floating oil rigs and sometimes icebergs. Stockton Rush had rented it and its crew for the summer, to carry us and his experimental submersible. 

Now, the back of the ship is a huge, flat, open deck. It’s ordinarily filled with enormous oil-rig components. And the front is the ship part, and it’s 8 decks tall. So the whole ship looks kind of front-heavy. 

But on that back deck, shining in the summer sun, there it was: Stockton Rush’s submersible. It’s one of only five subs in the world capable of reaching Titanic depths without imploding—and the one that I’d be spending 12 hours in myself, if I got lucky.

The sub is called the Titan. The main, center section looks like a shiny white tube, about minivan length. It’s made of five-inch-thick carbon fiber—which nobody’s ever used in a submersible before. I asked Rush about that.

POGUE: And surely, there were some pushback when you’re, like, “I’m going to design my sub to take non-scientists to the Titanic out of a material that hasn’t been used before.”

RUSH: Yes. When you’re trying something outside the box, people inside the box think you’re nuts. 

POGUE: And, what’s the virtue of the carbon fiber? 

RUSH: It’s three times better on a strength-to-buoyancy basis than titanium. And so, that’s in underwater. That’s what you care about. /By having a light hull, you have a smaller vessel, therefore you can have a smaller ship, everything starts to get not easier, but it’s different and a little bit easier.

At each end of the white tube is a shiny silver dome. They’re like end caps.

KYLE: We’ve got the forward dome, three and a quarter-inch thick titanium. Another hemisphere in the back, another titanium hemisphere. 

This is mission director Kyle Bingham, giving me a tour. There’s also a weird-looking stub mounted to the back dome, which he calls the rear cage.

KYLE: This rear cage holds the batteries, the electronics, these spears, which are the brains, and a little bit of foam in the back to trim the whole thing up. 

The front end cap has a 22-inch round window, made of seven-inch-thick Plexiglas, so you can see out. When you get to the bottom of the ocean, that’s your view of the Titanic. That, and whatever the exterior cameras are showing you.

Stockton gave me a tour of the inside.

RUSH: Shoes off. That’s customary. 

POGUE: Okay. Thank you. 

POGUE: Wow. It’s like…It’s like a minivan. 

RUSH: Yeah, it’s a Suburban. It’s a little bigger than you would think. 

POGUE: It’s a good size.  

RUSH: So this is not your grandfather’s submersible. Most of the deep diving subs were made with a purpose. It’s a science tool, so there wasn’t a lot of thought given to creature comforts, which tend to be spheres. They’re small, they’re cramped. They don’t have a toilet. 

POGUE: Toilet? 

RUSH: We have a toilet. 

Well, kind of. If you have to go to the bathroom during the dive, you can crawl into the window end of the sub and hang up a black cloth for privacy. There’s an 18-inch square box on the floor that contains Zip-lock bags—and that’s your toilet. Stockton promises that they turn up the music really loud while you’re in the…bathroom. 

There are a couple of touchscreen PC monitors on the floor of the sub, but otherwise, there are no controls in this thing!

POGUE: Wait a minute. I’ve seen submersibles, and they are banks of controls, cockpit after cockpit.

RUSH: Exactly. Yeah. It’s like, yeah, you can have a lot of buttons and things like that. Or you can use modern technology to make it simple. 

POGUE: So how do you drive it?

RUSH: Um, we run the whole thing with this game controller. 

POGUE: Come on. 

RUSH: This thing is made for a 16 year old to throw it around, and we keep a couple of spares.  

I’m not kidding. He drives his multimillion-dollar sub with a white plastic Xbox game controller.

And that’s not the only part of this sub that seemed kind of…jerry-rigged. Take, for example, the ceiling lights.

RUSH: So yes, I got these from Camper World and they are LED lights in here. And um, a nice little decorative feature. 

And then there are the cameras:

RUSH: We have a number of cameras that are actually security cameras. A lot of subs have custom made video capture systems because it gives them a lot of flexibility. But we got rid of that and just saying, look, we just want to capture the image. No, we are– we can use these off the shelf components. 

Later, when I interviewed Rush at his headquarters near Seattle, I asked him about that.

POGUE: It seems like this submersible has some elements of MacGyvery jerryriggedness . You’re like, “we bought these handles off”. You’re like, “these thrusters are modified from some other purpose.” 

RUSH: I don’t know if I’d use that description of it. But, there are certain things that you want to be buttoned down, and that’s the pressure vessel. 

The pressure vessel is the carbon-fiber tube—the part that keeps the human beings alive. 

RUSH: (cont’d) So, the pressure vessel is not MacGyver at all, because that’s where we work with Boeing and NASA and the University of Washington. That part, once the pressure vessel is — you’re certain it’s not going to collapse on everybody, everything else can fail. It doesn’t matter. Your thrusters can go. Your lights can go. All these things can fail. You’re still going to be safe. And so, that allows you to do what you call MacGyver stuff. You just have to be very careful that the life support system, the sub itself, the oxygen system, the carbon dioxide scrubbing, all that stuff that needs to be buttoned down.

POGUE: But, surely, I’m not the first layperson to say, “I can’t believe this isn’t a more finished solid state-of-the-art NASA electronic.” I mean, you’re putting construction pipes as ballast.

RUSH: People are surprised by it, and not people in the industry, because that’s what they do. I mean, the French had bags of stuff they dropped. The Russians used just steel shot with a little magnetic release and they drop it. All deep diving subs are prototypes.

Please remember that line: All deep-diving subs are prototypes. That should be a T-shirt.

POGUE: Are there ever clients who are taken aback and expected something more…polished? 

RUSH: Oh, yes. Yes. When we started out, we did have cases where a travel agent or a travel consultant would lead them to believe this was like going to the Four Seasons and booking a zip lining trip, and we’ll never be like that. 

Now, I’ve been the host of 20 “NOVA” science specials on PBS. And I’ve done a lot of shenanigans to make science telegenic. I’ve gone hang gliding, I’ve been given electric shocks, I’ve been subjected to extreme temperatures, I’ve pet 13-foot sharks in the Bahamas. But I’ve never feared for my life.

Gotta tell you—this was different. I mean, here are just a few choice excerpts from the waiver you have to sign:

I’ll bet there’s some hilarious music you could add…

“The experimental submersible vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body. Any failure could cause severe injury or death.

The support vessel is an industrial vessel not designed for passenger operations and present many hazards, including…property damage, injury, disability, or death.  

If I choose to assist in the servicing of the submersible, I will be exposed to high-pressure gases, high-voltage electrical systems, and other dangers that could lead to property damage, injury, disability, and death. 

I hereby assume full responsibility for the risk of bodily injury, disability, death.”

Oh, great. Where do I sign?

I mean, I was actually scared. 

* last year

Last year, at the end of a Titanic dive, OceanGate had trouble getting the sub back onto the ship. Those poor mission specialists …they wound up spending 27 hours in the sub.

Granted, the company says the sub has 96 hours’ worth of oxygen and power. And Stockton isn’t exactly an amateur. As a young man, he designed and built his own fiberglass airplane, which he still flies. Titan isn’t even his first submersible.

But it sure doesn’t help your anxiety much when someone says stuff like this:

RUSH: You know, there’s a limit. You know, at some point, safety just is pure waste. I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed. Don’t get in your car. Don’t do anything. At some point, you’re going to take some risk, and it really is a risk/reward question. I think I can do this just as safely by breaking the rules.

Bottom line, the last couple of nights before the expedition, I didn’t sleep AT ALL. Did I want to die for a TV story—and a really great podcast episode?

I mainly worried about three things. First, I worried that the sub would collapse under the pressure—6,000 pounds per square inch. That’s about the pressure you’d feel on your chest if 46 school buses parked on your sternum. 

But Rush reminded me that the deeper you go, the tighter the water presses those titanium endcaps onto the carbon-fiber tube. The whole thing becomes more waterproof the deeper it goes. OH! Ok.

Second, I worried about running out of air. The Titan uses the same kind of oxygen scrubbers that they use on submarines and spacecraft—they convert carbon dioxide back into oxygen—but what if that system breaks down? 

Well, I learned that the Titan also carries chemical scrubber strips that you can break out and hang from the ceiling in an emergency. And as a backup backup, it’s got plain old scuba oxygen tanks in storage under the floor. Oh really?

But I also worried about getting back to the surface. Exactly what kind of ballast did this thing have? According to Kyle Bingham, a LOT.

First, there are three enormous, heavy, black, beat-up lead construction pipes on each side of the sub. 

KYLE: These triple weights, we call ‘em, are hydraulically driven. So we operate ‘em inside, doesn’t take any electricity, can be done manually, and those drop away and gain us a lot of buoyancy. 

Dropping that much weight onto the sea floor means the sub starts rising.

But what if the hydraulic system breaks? Well, then they have roll weights. 

KYLE: Ah, so, we’ve got these weights here on the side, these are roll weights, we can actually roll the sub and those come off, and that gains us some buoyancy to come back to the surface.

These are pipes that sit on a shelf that juts out from either side of the sub, held in place only by gravity. If everyone inside the sub shifts their weight to one side, the sub tips enough to let these pipes roll off. 

If that doesn’t work, there are ballast bags, full of metal shot, hanging below the sub.

KYLE: These bags down below, we drop those off using motors and electric fingers. 

OK. But what if the electronics go out, and the hydraulics fail, and everyone inside has passed out unconscious? 

KYLE: There’s fusible links within these that actually can dissolve and come back in time if it’s drop off. 

Fusible links are self-dissolving bonds. After 16 hours in seawater, those bonds disintegrate, the weight bags drop off automatically, and you go back to the surface.

And even those four systems aren’t the end of it. The sub’s thrusters can also push it up; the pilot can jettison the sub’s legs as dead weight; and there’s even an airbag they can inflate to provide buoyancy. 

All told, that’s seven different ways to get the sub back up to the surface.

POGUE: Wow. Those are a lot of backups of backups. 

KYLE: Yes. 

POGUE: I guess you really don’t want to be stuck down there. 

KYLE: Going home is required. 

I asked Stockton Rush about the whole danger thing.

POGUE: How dangerous is it?

RUSH: I don’t think it’s very dangerous. / if you look at submersible activity over the last three decades, there hasn’t even been a major injury, let alone a fatality. What worries us is not once you’re underwater. What worries me is when I’m getting you there, when you’re on the ship in icy states with big doors that can crush your hands and people who may not have the best  balance who fall down, bang their head. That’s, to me, the dangerous part. But, the scary part for most people is going down to 6,000 PSI. 

POGUE: Yes. It’s counterintuitive. I would  certainly not expect life on the surface ship to be the dangerous part. 

RUSH: Yes. 

POGUE: So, once we’re down there, what ARE the things to worry about? 

RUSH: What I worry about most are things that will stop me from being able to get to the surface. Overhangs, fish nets, entanglement hazards. And, that’s just a technique, piloting technique. It’s pretty clear— if it’s an overhang, don’t go under it. If there is a net, don’t go near it. So, you can avoid those if you are just slow and steady.

Most of our fellow expeditioners were rich people seeking adventure, like a hedge-fund guy with his son, an artificial-intelligence pioneer who’d sold a bunch of companies, and Shrenik Baldota, who runs a massive industrial conglomerate in India. 

…use whichever you think sounds best!

POGUE: And you have a nickname? 

SHRENIK: Yeah, they call me the wild monk. 

POGUE: The wild monk? 

SHRENIK: Yeah, because I look like a monk. I’m very calm, but I have these extreme interests that I do. Going into a live volcano in Vanuatu, two times to Antarctica, on an edge of space flight at 70,000 feet on a MiG-29, swimming with the blue whales, catching crocodiles in Botswana with National Geographic. 

POGUE: You’ve done all this?


POGUE: You’ve witnessed this week, and previous weeks, many dives getting canceled. Have you talked your brain through what will happen if you don’t get to go down at all?

SHRENIK: I’ll come back again. 

Ha! Fateful words, as you’ll see in a bit.

And then…there was Renata Rojas. She is not a hedge-fund dude or owner of a major industrial complex. She works in a bank.

POGUE: You don’t strike me as a multimillionaire.

RENATA: I am not a multimillionaire. I’ve been saving to do this my entire life.

POGUE: When you told people that you were spending almost the price of a small house to do this one-day trip, did you get any reactions?

RENATA: Most people think I’m crazy by spending all this money and trying to go down to see Titanic. My response is, “Dreams don’t have a price.” Some people want a Ferrari. Some people have children. Some people buy a house. I wanted to go to Titanic.

She’s not kidding. She really wants to see the Titanic.

RENTA: I’m trying to fulfill a dream. A quest that I’ve had since I’m a child. I saw the movie “A Night to Remember” in black and white, and the mystery of Titanic having vanished. Something so large and magnificent, having vanished from the face of the earth and nobody knew where it was.

 “A Night to Remember” is a famous 1934 movie about the sinking.

RENATA: So I started to do a little bit of investigation of how I could go to Titanic. Back then, it was only $40,000, which I do not have. So I started saving my money. And by the time I got to the $40,000, it was $60,000, and then it became $80,000. And I just kept saving up and trying to get into an expedition. Finally, in 2010, I got into the deep ocean expeditions, uh, bicentennial dives. But those expeditions were not only postponed twice, but then canceled. Then the Mirs were retired.

The Mirs were a pair of Russian submersibles—the same ones that James Cameron rode down to the Titanic when he filmed scenes for his movie. The Mirs are no longer in service.

RENATA: (cond’td) So the quest became trying to find a private submersible company that would be willing to go to Titanic. And I stumbled into Ocean Gate. 

She was the company’s very first customer. She joined the very first two expeditions, the first two weeks of operation in 2021. But the Titan had mechanical problems the first week, and never made it down to the Titanic. And the second week, the weather was too bad to dive. Of course, she could have stayed on board for a third week…

POGUE: But you didn’t.

RENATA: I had to leave. I had to leave. My father at the time got sick, so I wanted to go down to Mexico to, to, uh, to see how he was. And so I went back home.

A year went by. Since she’d missed her chance the first year, OceanGate gave her a free do-over this summer. Renata Rojas was finally going to achieve her dream! Except…her bad luck struck again, this time in the form of air-travel hell.

RENATA: Well, there was 4th of July weekend and Canada Day. I got stuck in the airports, my flights got cancelled, and I ended up landing in St John’s too late to meet the boat. Almost seems like the universe wants to tell you something, and for a second, you just want to give up. You do think, all this effort for what? 

POGUE: That’s why I wanted to talk to you. Because you have been wanting to do this for…

RENATA: 40 years.

POGUE: And at least twice now it’s been in your grasp and then taken away.

RENATA: At least three times. 

POGUE: Three times…

RENATA: …has been in my grasp.

POGUE: So psychologically, what do you chant to yourself? What do you tell yourself? To not lose your mind.

RENATA: You just cry a lot. And just keep the dream alive because it’s something that I have I have to do.

POGUE: I think it’s next week, Renata.

RENATA: I hope so. If it’s not next week, it will happen. Next year—maybe it’s next year.

Would Renata ever get to see the darned shipwreck? Would I? Will you? The answers to those questions and more—after the ads!


These OceanGate expeditions are 9 days long. The Titanic is two days away from Saint Johns, and you five days floating above the wreck. So in theory, OceanGate could visit the Titanic as many as five times during our trip—one 12-hour dive per day. 

The thing is, in two summers of operation, OceanGate has never made five dives to the wreck. On a typical expedition, they get down there twice. 

I mean, we’re talking about the North Atlantic here. Remember the movie “The Perfect Storm?” 

That’s the place. The weather can be pretty terrible out here. Also, the sub often has problems of its own. As a wise man once said, “All deep-diving subs are prototypes.”

We already knew that on our five-day visit, the seas would be too rough to launch the sub on days 2 and 3 of. So that left days 1, 4, and 5. The CBS crew was scheduled for Day 1; paying customers would be filling the sub on days 4 and 5.

But the night before, mission director Kyle Bingham reviewed the wave heights for our Titanic voyage in the morning. 

KYLE: Sea states out there, around 6am when we’re launching, we’re looking at six feet, and then it kinda continues to climb through that part of the day. 

And sure enough: the seas were too rough to launch the sub on Day 1. 

I mean, not gonna lie. I was pretty crushed about not making it to see the Titanic.

On the other hand, Rush proposed a consolation dive, a CBS News special: We’d dive the Continental Shelf, the Grand Banks, 80 miles away. Rush said we might see shark breeding grounds, stunning, towering underwater cliffs, and—maybe marine creatures nobody’s ever seen before. 

So on the morning of our dive, we awoke at 4am. DANG I was exhausted—and excited.

POGUE: Weather’s bad today at the Titanic, so we sailed 80 miles through night to the Continental Shelf, where the CBS crew is being offered the chance to go down in the sub. Not nearly as deep, not nearly not as long as a Titanic dive, but it’s still gonna be a thrill.

Five of us climbed into the Titan: Stockton Rush, the pilot; Steve Ross, a deep-sea marine biologist; Nelson White, an Indigenous artist and friend of the company; producer Anthony Laudato, wielding the camera; and me.

RUSH: You’ll feel a lot of bumping, sometimes there’s some banging—don’t worry about it. All that can happen is something on the outside can get hurt. We’re not getting hurt. We are now the safest five people on the planet.

The crew closed the front titanium end cap and sealed us in with 17 bolts—from the outside.

Guy: OK…it’s going, a couple more inches…

POGUE: I forgot to tell you. I have severe claustrophobia. Is that a problem?

Now, there’s one key part of this sub system that I haven’t mentioned yet, because it’s sort of complicated. Complicated, but cool. 

You might have wondered at this point: What’s the difference between a submarine and a submersible? A submarine has enough juice to leave port, do its trip, and come back, all under its own power. A submersible has much less power; you need a surface ship to launch it and recover it.

Most submersibles get lowered into the water by a crane mounted on the ship, usually an A-frame crane. But Stockton Rush wanted to avoid that system. 

RUSH: There is nothing dumber than doing anything on the surface of the water. You do it underwater or in the air. It’s that transition where the problems happen. It’s when you get that sub out of the water and now it’s not in the water and it’s not on the deck, it’s hanging on a pendulum, that’s the dangerous part.

So, think about, you have a ten-ton sub, and a multi-thousand-ton ship, and they’re in bad waves. So, anybody can launch when it’s dead calm. But when the waves are there, these things are doing different stuff.  They’re banging into stuff. 

The typical solution is get a really big ship and a really big. Well, that’s super expensive. 

Eventually, he heard about a radically different system of launching, which would let his sub operate from any ship at all, even one that doesn’t have a crane.

And this is how it works.

The sub is bolted onto a huge, metal, floating platform, which the crew refers to by its technical name—“the platform.” It’s a silver steel 15-by-25-foot platform, about four feet tall, with the sub attached in the middle. The whole apparatus spends most of its time sitting on the back deck of the ship. 

RUSH: The sub has its launch platform. That’s how it’s operated. It’s not operated without its platform. 

POGUE: Okay. 

When it comes time to dive, they roll the platform down this massive, bright-orange ramp off the back of the ship into the water. At this point, 

RUSH: There’re four compartments. We release the air, they fill with water. The whole thing goes underwater. 

Pogue: How far down?

RUSH: About 30 feet.

And why do the platform and sub sink down together? Because the water is calm down there. After all,  

RUSH: There is nothing dumber than doing anything on the surface of the water.

Next, scuba divers unclip the sub from the platform. And yes, you’re hearing the actual sound of our actual diver, doing the actual unclipping. He wore a GoPro just for us! 

At this point, the sub is now floating free. The pilot activates the thrusters, and off they zoom to the their deep-sea destination! 

12 hours later, they do all of this in reverse: The sub rises to the surface and glides onto the platform. The divers clip it in. The crew pumps the platform’s tanks full of air. It rises back to the surface, and a winch drags the whole thing back up the ramp onto the ship. Easy as pie! In theory.

In practice, there were a lot of checklists, procedures, and bumps. 

RADIO: Titans are you a go or no go?

NELSON: Titan is a go. 

They need motorboats to drag the platform down that giant orange ramp, and it’s a jerky, balky ride. Stockton suggested that we brace ourselves—on each other.

RUSH: /When we do the submergence,  we’ll probably have you to put your feet in the dome, and then we can see your knees on your back. 

POGUE: Really?

RUSH: Get to know your neighbor.

POGUE: It feels pretty steep! Six Flags Great Adventure.

Finally, it happened.

POGUE: We’re tipping! We are in the water, people!

And suddenly, we were floating. We could hear a lot of clanking, and out of our little round window, we could see the crew running around on the platform, preparing to sink it—and us.

RUSH: So we just completed Phase 1 of the launch process, which is launching the sub and platform from the back deck. Look outside and we’ve got some 6-8 foot swells every so often, but generally calm. That went fairly smoothly, and they’re gonna come and prepare the platform for the next phase, which is the sinking.

The water was aqua and bubbly as we went down. 

RUSH: We’re under water.

POGUE: Oh we are! We’re under water! 12 meters…That’s something like…36 feet? (jokes) Hull integrity: holding!

This was it. This was the precise moment when the divers went to unclip our sub from the platform. And that’s precisely when Kyle, up in the bridge of the ship, radioed us.

RUSH: Go ahead, topside.

RADIO: Looks like we lost a couple of buoys.

RUSH: In that they sunk all the way under, or they came undone? 

RADIO: They came undone.

NELSON: I can see them floating around in the background. 

RUSH: It’s not an exact science. Right down to knot-tying!

POGUE: So apparently those floats there came off the platform. And that wasn’t supposed to happen. 

Rush had to make a hard decision in a hurry. Do we care about a couple of stupid buoys, when underwater cliffs and shark breeding grounds are calling out to us?

Well, this is Stockton Rush we’re talking about! With a knowing smile and a steely glint in his eye, he picked up the radio handset, held it to his mouth, and announced his decision.

Oh gosh, look at the time—this episode has gotten super long! 

I think this is as good a cliffhanger as any. Let’s pause here—and in the next episode of “Unsung Science,” I’ll finish up the story. You’ll hear about whales, tales of tsunamis, freak solar phenomena, a ship-driving lesson, a sub lost in the dark—and maybe, if you’re very, very good, a visit to the Titanic.


You’ve just listened to another episode of “Unsung Science” with David Pogue. Don’t forget that the entire library of shows, along with written transcripts, await at 

This podcast is a joint venture of Simon & Schuster and “CBS Sunday Morning,” and it’s produced by PRX Productions.  

For Simon & Schuster, the Executive Producers are Richard Rhorer and Chris Lynch.  

The PRX production team is Jocelyn Gonzales, Morgan Flannery, Pedro Rafael Rosado and Morgan Church.

Jesi Nelson composed the Unsung Science theme music, our fact checker is Kristina Rebelo, and Olivia Noble fixed the transcripts.

* new end credits

For more of my stuff, visit or follow me on Twitter, @pogue. We’d love it if you’d like and follow Unsung Science wherever you get your podcasts. And spread the word, will you?

The Secret of Baby Carrots

Season 2 • Episode 1

If you type the word “carrot” into Google Images, you get thousands of photos of the classic root vegetable. They’re all full-length, orange, straight, and pointy. Which is a little odd, because 70% of all the carrots we buy are, in fact, baby carrots.

Or at least we think they’re baby carrots. Turns out baby carrots aren’t baby at all. And the story of their creation is twisty, uplifting, and super satisfying. It’s all about a California carrot farmer with a distaste for waste—and a frustrated ex-wife. 

Guests: Jeff Huckaby, President and CEO of Grimmway Farms, and David Yurosek, co-originator of Bunny Luv baby carrots

Episode Transcript


Baby carrots. They’re on every Superbowl snack platter. They’re in millions of school lunches. They’re the carrots in cooked carrots. They’re 70% of the carrots we buy, because we don’t have to wash’em, cut ‘em, or peel ‘em.

But here’s the little secret about baby carrots:

JEFF: Well, they’re not actually baby carrots. They’re harvested as a full-size carrot, taken into the facility where they’re cut into two-inch pieces and peeled and put in a bag.


I’m David Pogue, and this is “Unsung Science.”

If you ask a little kid to draw a carrot, they’ll grab the orange crayon and draw the classic shape: Long, skinny, pointy at the end. Which is super weird, because odds are fairly good they’ve never eaten anything like that in their lives. 

The carrots they have encountered are almost certainly baby carrots. Two inches long, rounded at both ends, already peeled and washed, delicious and ready to eat. 70% of all the carrots we buy are, in fact, baby carrots.

But, as promised by the title of this episode, baby carrots harbor a big secret. So let’s get that out of the way right up front. The secret of baby carrots is this:

JEFF: Well, they’re not actually baby carrots. They are pieces of carrots. They are indeed grown specifically to cut into two-inch pieces.

That’s Jeff Huckaby, the president and CEO of Grimmway Farms, which is the biggest carrot grower on the planet. And how big is big?

JEFF: Grimmway Farms grows about 45,000 acres of carrots across the country. It equates to about 10 million pounds of carrots every day, six days a week, 52 weeks out of the year. It’s a lotta carrots. 

POGUE: Ten million pounds a day.

JEFF: People really like carrots. 

We were sitting right next to one of his carrot farms in Bakersfield, California. Beautiful, bright-green crops in tidy rows stretched as far as the eye could see. They were about two weeks from being ready to harvest.

And there’s a reason this farm is in Bakersfield: It’s a hot, dry place. 

JEFF: Carrots are grown mostly in very arid regions like Bakersfield. We do this for a reason. / you want to be able to time the irrigation so that you can stretch the root as long as possible and have it search for water.

So when you get in these– climates where you have a lot of rainfall, you get a little short, stubby carrot because it feeds from the– the surface. So we try to drive these– carrots down as much as possible. 

POGUE: We have a garden in Connecticut. I tried so hard to grow carrots. Just never succeeded.

JEFF: No one can in their garden. It–

POGUE: What?

JEFF: No one can. It’s because the soil has to be so– you know– loose down to two to three feet. And you’re not gonna sit there and rip your dirt into where it’s very pliable for two to three feet down–

POGUE: They don’t tell you that–

JEFF: Yeah, that’s why people can’t be very successful in their garden.

Anyway. Grimmway has designed and built its own carrot-harvesting machine. It’s a sight to behold.

SFX of harvester

JEFF: So you can’t just go buy a carrot harvester off the the shelf over at your local tractor dealer. So we build ‘em. They come through. And it takes three people basically. You have the driver. You have a guy on the back making sure the carrots are handled properly. And we can do about 25 tons of carrots about every 15 or 20 minutes. 

25 tons every 15 minutes!? Are you tracking this? That is SO MANY carrots! 

Anyway. The harvester machine dumps them all into a truck rolling alongside it.

JEFF: And then truck is shuttled from here about a mile away to our facility. And then at that point, they’re washed out. They go through a wash-out process that– you got a big boom of water. It washes, puts– recycled water on it that we’re reusing over and over again. And then we’ll change out every day or so. 

POGUE: Well, here’s– here’s where I revolutionize the carrot industry a second time. Since they’re going to be peeled for us, why do you need to wash them first?

JEFF: They come out dirty. You’re dealing with a root that comes and it’s grown in the dirt. (cont’d) /- you will see when you’re harvesting, you bring a lotta dirt in with it. And so the carrot has to be really cleaned and scrubbed before you can actually peel it and cut it and put it in a bag and– and– and consider it ready to eat.

POGUE: Okay, so how does it get cut? It’s not you with a knife, I take it.

JEFF: It’s not. There wasn’t a carrot cutter out there available that we could go buy off the shelf and do it. So we kinda took some other technologies and then adapted it. And we’ve come out with– a model that we really like. We build it ourselves and– and adjust it to get the two-inch– carrot out of the long, you know, ten, 12, 14-inch carrot.

The machine they adapted was originally designed for cutting beans.

JEFF: There were a number of things taken from other industries that said, “You know– just with some minor modifications, we can make that work on the– for the carrots.” The bean cutter has been by far the best cutter that we have found. We just had to lengthen the throat a little bit. The carrot’s a lot longer. And it– as it drops down it just takes a two-inch piece out.

At this point, I grabbed a juicy orange baby carrot out of the bag and held it up in the sun. 

POGUE: And then once they’ve been cut, this has somehow been rounded and peeled.

JEFF: That’s correct. So when– after the– the product is cut, it still has the outer layer and the skin on it. And so it goes through a series of a peeler and then a polisher. And it’s basically s– similar to sandpaper, grit rolls that it goes through. And as it goes through and tumbles, it has a tendency to round off the little end a little bit and then remove the skin. And then you have a fine polish that really makes it have a nice smooth finish and gets the final touches of the the skin off. And then we go through and then put it into the bags.


OK, the first secret is out: Baby carrots aren’t baby at all. 

But here’s a second secret: Baby carrots were invented to hide nature’s ugliness from our picky, picky eyes. And they were invented—by this man.

YUROSEK: My name is David Yurosek. My father and I owned a company called “Mike Yurosek and Son,” and we were the originators of– of the Bunny Luv baby carrots.

Mrs. Yurosek—David’s mom—came up with the name Bunny Luv for the family’s carrots. L-U-V, love.


Mrs. Yurosek was also a talented artist, so she also came up with the company logo—which looks for all the world like Bugs Bunny in an apron. Warner Brothers was not pleased.

YUROSEK: Warner Bros. sued us. It looked too much like Bugs Bunny. My father gave it to my mother and said, “Figure somethin’ out.” 

She drew a sheaf of variations of that cartoon bunny, and the Yuroseks sent them off to Warner Brothers’ lawyers, with an invitation to choose a logo that they would find acceptable. They did, and that’s the version you see on the bags today.

POGUE: Still looks kinda like Miss Bugs Bunny.

YUROSEK: Yeah, we thought so. But, you know, Warner Bros. accepted it, so that’s all we care. 

Anyway. The logo lawsuit wasn’t the Yuroseks’s biggest headache. The waste was. It was a distressing fact of modern carrot farming: You had to throw away a huge fraction of your crop. 

YUROSEK: 35 to 45% of our carrots were rejected because of cosmetic situations. We couldn’t even feed ‘em to our cattle, ‘cause the fat would turn orange, and so that didn’t work. So we had really no viable alternative to utilize that product. 

And why would you go to the trouble of raising delicious, nutritious carrots and then throw 400 tons of them away, every single day?

YUROSEK: Well, carrots are basically– like any fruit or vegetable, are cosmetic. If it doesn’t look good, they’re not gonna buy it. But the nutrition and everything else is still there. 

POGUE: What are we talkin’ about? A little discoloration? Or bent? Or–

YUROSEK: Bent, broken. Carrots get broken when they come in, so nobody– a consumer doesn’t wanna buy a broken carrot that’s broken in half. They’re bent. And then we got involved with developing hybrid carrots. They’re very beautiful carrots, sweet, but they also were very susceptible to different types of diseases. We started having something called “cavity spotting,” where there– a carrot is like– you know, has little root hairs that come out; eyelets, so to speak. And they would– that cavity spotting would affect that. There’s also– it had a disease called “black crown,” which the whole top of the carrot would kinda turn black. So those are some of the two biggest problems we were having in the sense of cosmetics. And so consequently, you know, that’s what kinda drove me, as to say, “Okay, how do we do something with that product and make it sellable to the consumer?”

And by the way—why are so many carrots misshapen? Here’s Jeff Huckaby again.

JEFF: If you went out and dug in this field, just due to defects with– the carrot hits a rock and– and is crooked, or it splits, or you’ve got some damage– you know, due to nematodes or something. No one wants a carrot that’s crooked or split or something. Still eats well, but the consumer wants a nice, straight, orange– smooth carrot. 

POGUE: We’re the consumers. We’re the ones who say, “I’m not gonna eat that carrot. It’s bent.” Do you as an industry person, as a grower, do you think that that’s an absurd position?

JEFF: Well, I do. I mean, because there’s nothing wrong with the carrot other than appearance. The consumer is kinda trained to have that picturesque carrot that is tapered nicely, that’s smooth, that– is nice and straight. They all eat equally as well. And, you know, we get a lot of people that when the baby carrot gets in the bag, it will have a split to it. And those are the carrots I eat. Because the split is usually because it’s got more sugar in it than the others.

Anyway—baby carrots were a brilliant solution! Once a carrot’s been cut and peeled and polished before you even see it, you have no idea how bent or crooked or spotted the original carrot was. Everybody wins: You’re spared all the effort of washing, cutting, and peeling, and the farmers can use the 40% of the crop they would have thrown away.

Now, if you Google hard enough, you can find writeups of that origin story, about how the baby carrot was developed to let farmers sell their ugly carrots. 


But there’s a second origin story that’s never been told—the moment that pushed David Yurosek over the brink, that finally sent him to the baby-carrot drawing board.

It’s the ex-wife story—an “Unsung Science” exclusive. And after the break…you’ll hear it!

Ad Break


Now, most people telling the origin story of baby carrots mention the economic incentive that the Mike Yurosek and his son David had. They wanted to find a way to sell the nearly 40% of their crop that had cosmetic glitches, that we, the people, were too picky to eat.

But the baby carrot idea also solved a second problem—an interpersonal one. Here’s David Yurosek again.

YUROSEK: My ex-wife, Terry, made this meal that was carrots. It was cut-up carrots. She told me, “Why can’t you do somethin’ like this, so I don’t spend three hours, you know, in a kitchen, making it?” 

POGUE: So she was taking three hours, doing what? Cutting ‘em–

YUROSEK: Cutting them and peeling ‘em.

Of course, she could have used pre-cut frozen carrots, which were a big deal at that time, in 1985. But Terry would have none of it.

YUROSEK: Had to be fresh. She told me, “These got to be fresh.” Frozen carrots and canned carrots lose about 35-40% of the nutritional value. And so that’s when I said, “Okay, we’ll see what we can do.” And I went the next day and thought about it and brought a couple of my guys in and said, “We need to figure out how to do this.” 

I gotta hand it to Dave Yurosek. To prepare for our interview, he’d spent a few days calling up former colleagues and employees to piece together the details. 

YUROSEK: We had some great people. A couple of ‘em have passed away, Sid Brown and– and Kent Williams. Kent Williams came up with the idea of having what we called a “focus group.” And I said, “What is a focus group?” And he looked at me. Said, “You don’t know what it is?” 

The Yuroseks OK’ed the focus group. This was a big moment. They’d spent millions of dollars developing these two-inch, ready-to-cook carrots, in hopes of appealing to home cooks like Terry… in hopes of displacing some of the frozen carrots that people were using in their cooking. The focus group was asked the critical question: Would you cook with these?

YUROSEK: And so he came back and says, “I’ve got good news and bad news.” And I said, “Well– give me the good news first.” And he says, “They love the carrots.” So I said, “Love the carrots? What can the bad news be?” He said, “They don’t want it for cooking.” I said, “What do ya mean?” “They want ‘em for– to use ‘em for snacks. They loved it, just to sit– put ‘em in dip, and do this and that.” I said, “Kent, that’s great news. I thought you wanted to cook ‘em.” I said, “Now we’re in what I call a snack industry. We’re against Fritos, potato chips,” and I said, “Now that’s a multi-billion-dollar industry we can compete against.” And at that point, basically it was kinda the– if you say the old thing of “Eureka” for me, I said, “Guys, damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!” And so we built a plant. We retrofitted the plant that we had.

POGUE: So the original idea was not then necessarily for snacking? 


POGUE: You thought for cookin’?

YUROSEK: Yep. Yeah, my wife– going back to the story I told ya, I gotta make somethin’ where the housewife can cook faster.

POGUE: So was the focus group the first indication that you had, that this could be gigantic?

YUROSEK: I don’t know if we thought it was gigantic. It was the first time that — we obviously didn’t know how big it was going to be, but we realized that we had something that was feasible. 

Now, if you’ve been listening closely, you realize that the Night of the Ex-Wife Carrot Dish took place in 1985, and baby carrots ultimately hit the market in 1990. So what took five years?

Turns out it wasn’t so easy to develop this new carrot format.

YUROSEK: A lot of times we had train wrecks, you know? We thought we had the idea; then it didn’t work. Example– we– when we finally got to the point we could put ‘em in a bag, okay– the bag would just go like a balloon. And we’re kinda looking– “What’s wrong with this bag?” Well, it was the fact that the carrots have to breathe. They’re still respirating.


YUROSEK: And so then we came with the idea– a very simple idea. We put a thumbtack on a roller where the bags came down, and the thumbtack put a little hole in ‘em. Solution to the problem. For three or four years, we used that concept.

But letting the extra air out of the bags was only the beginning of the problems.  

YUROSEK: This guy came and said, “Dave, I wanna show ya somethin’.” I said, “Yeah?” He said, “See this– these carrots have all turned white?” And I go, “Yeah.” “Look at the ends of ‘em.” And he’d cut ‘em with a knife. They weren’t white. And so then he put it under a microscope, and he said, “Look at all this roughness on the carrot, is what turns ‘em white and then causes the oxidation.” But where it’s smooth, that’s not there, so there isn’t that process.

The cut ends of the carrot never turned white. Only the sides, which had been polished by the sandpaper machines.

YUROSEK: The thing is to try to do it, you know, knife to cut it very clean and everything else, to kinda peel it just by hand, to see what would happen. And they all stayed orange. And so we went back to the company that made these peelers. We went back to them and said, “Can you put different grit in these?” And the grit, again, is like the sandpaper. So we were using like an 80 grit. And he said, “Yeah, we can go– we can go to a finer grit.” So we said, “Okay, let’s go to– let’s try– let’s try a– 50.” Well, that didn’t work. “Let’s try a 30.” That didn’t work. We kept going down on that grit. Finally got down to a 20, and then we said, “Okay.”

They’d finally gotten the carrot pieces so smooth, they no longer turned white shortly after being cut.

But to this day, baby carrots do start turning white once they’ve been exposed to the air a while. Here’s how Jeff Huckaby explains it:

JEFF: We’ve taken and scraped the skin off. And so it’s a little bit of an oxidation that happens– as it dries out.  And– you know, temperature a little bit. So the colder they stay and under the ideal conditions, that whiting doesn’t go there. You can take this and put it back into water, and boom, all of a sudden it rehydrates. The whiting goes away. 

But the question remained: How do you stop carrots from getting dry in the bag? In shipping? In the store shelves? The Yuroseks confronted yet another showstopper. They’d just traded one cosmetic problem for another one.

YUROSEK: They started– you know, getting dry in the bag.


YUROSEK: So we said, “Okay, what do we do about that?” You know, and Mark Bunch came up with this idea of putting water right as the bag was being sealed, and it would shoot a little shot of water in it. And so he built this contraption. These machines go like this: the bag comes down, and it drops the carrots, and it goes like this. 

He’s demonstrating with his hands how the carrots fall vertically into the open bag below them.

YUROSEK: (cont’d) Each time I’d do that, I’d shoot a little bit of water into it before the clamp would close to seal it. And all of a sudden that problem wasn’t there.


YUROSEK: So it just– it was just a series of figurin’ out what to do. 

Finally, after five years of problem solving, the family was ready to start selling to grocery stores.

When the Yuroseks did the math, it looked like everyone would come out ahead. Yeah, consumers would much pay more for baby carrots per pound—but they were getting a lot more carrot. When you buy full-size carrots, you waste a lot of what you’ve bought. 

YUROSEK: They’ve gotta peel it and you gotta cut the top off. You can’t eat that. You gotta cut maybe the tip of the carrot off. You can’t use that. There’s a lot more throwaway. So you’re paying for that. So that’s when I started talking with buyers, you know, like– Stop & Shop, who was the first one that bought carrots from us. I explained to the buyers– I’d say, “You know, there’s no waste in this. There’s no waste in that bag there. Everything can be used.” I told ‘em, “look at your profit. If you sell 1 million pounds of carrots a month, at this, you’re gonna make X amount of dollars.” 

(cont’d):  I had this all figured out, and I showed him. I said, “Well, try it and see what happens.” And so he did and found out that it was– it was true. He made more money with those than he did with the regular carrots. And so they all of a sudden started expanding the shelf space for the cut-and-peeled and carrots like that. 

Within one year, Americans were buying more than twice as many carrots as before—from six pounds a year per person, to 10 pounds—all because the cut-and-peeled models were so convenient. 

Now, in the beginning, what made the Yuroseks miserable was that they had too many carrots with cosmetic defects. But now, with the exploding popularity of baby carrots, they didn’t have enough! 

YUROSEK: All of a sudden we didn’t have enough product for our cut-and-peeled. So we started actually sending regular carrots, you know, a certain size over to the plant. We started using– stealing from Peter to give to Paul, if you will. 

Now the company was using perfectly straight, long, unblemished carrots—for baby carrots. Eventually, they started growing new fields of carrots exclusively for cutting and peeling into baby-carrot bags. 

At that point, it was only a small logical leap to realize: Maybe they should start breeding special varieties for baby carrots. Here’s Jeff Huckaby.

JEFF: We are growing specific varieties for cut and peel. You know, the older, full-size carrot had a little bit of a core inside it. So when you would cut it, you could see the core. So a lot of the breeding over the years has been to try to reduce that core just for a better palate. So that, you know, when you crunched it, you didn’t have a hard center or anything. They have a tendency to be a little sweeter. 

Carrots have come a long way since the bad old days of 1985, when 40% of the crop wound up getting thrown away. These days, carrots are one of the least wasteful crops in the world. Grimmway Farms uses every millimeter of every carrot.  

JEFF: So we need as many two-inch pieces out of a carrot as we can get. Usually the top piece, because this is where the crown attachment is, is not the most aesthetically pleasing piece. So we usually chop this off. But it’s still usable. We’re still able to take that. You can still shred it and make– shredded carrots for the salad companies. Or a lot of it can go into juice. Nothing wrong with it. 

(cont’d) So if you taken that piece off, you have one, two, maybe three, sometimes four actual cuts. The longer the carrot, the more cuts that we get. And then there’s a different size. It’s thicker at the top, and then it tapers down to where the smaller could be what we consider a “carrotini.” And it goes into, like, the little one and two-ounce bags for the school lunches. So it’s a petite little piece off the end. 

POGUE: Carrotinis.

JEFF: Yes.

POGUE: Never heard that term in my life.

JEFF: Yes, that’s what we call the little ones. And– and– that’s the ones that you see mostly in the schools in the little snack packs. 

POGUE: But what about all the pulpy stuff that is polished away?

JEFF: From a tonnage standpoint — is very minimal. It gets hauled off to cattle feed. The dairy menwill take it. And they’ll mix it with their rations and stuff. And it becomes a really good food supplement that are given to the cows.

POGUE: And how about the greens? Does that go anywhere?

JEFF: We’ve tried– using them as animal feed. But we found that it’s better as an organic matter to just turn them back under and put ‘em in the field. 

POGUE: How about this idea? You get a bean cutter. You cut ‘em into two-inch segments. You market them–

JEFF: Market– carrot tops. 

Yurosek and Sons went on to develop packages of carrot curls, carrot sticks, and shredded carrots; at one point, they even tried to develop actual baby carrots—carrots that were still tiny when fully grown. But nothing ever approached the success of the baby carrots. Eventually, the Yuroseks cashed out; they sold Bunny Luv to their rival, Grimmway Farms.

But the effects of their invention weren’t limited to carrots.

YUROSEK: All the industry saw, “Wait a minute. These guys have got these carrots. We can do this with lettuce. We can do this with broccoli. We can do this with cauliflower.”

(cont’d) People started going to salads. You know, broccoli spears. Every time I walk into a produce section of a store, I kinda smile and see all these things and go, “Yeah, we– we were the ones that created that,” you know?

POGUE: So it wasn’t just baby carrots that this idea launched? It was a domino effect?

YUROSEK: Yes, sir. You know, in those days– probably 100% of what was on the produce shelf in the store was vegetables in their original form, so to speak. 


POGUE: I mean, everywhere you go, you see baby carrots. Do you take pride every time you see that?

YUROSEK: I don’t try to say it’s me. You know, it was a team that did this. The Wright brothers, you know, they started out wanting to fly an airplane. They did. Thomas Alva Edison wanted to make a light bulb. He did, you know? So you kinda have that great moment that you feel, “We did it,” you know? So, you know, so it’s nice to still walk in a store and see ‘em there. And I go, “All right.” Tell my wife, “That was me. Man, we did that,” you know? 

UNSUNG SCIENCE with David Pogue is presented by Simon & Schuster and CBS News, and produced by PRX Productions.  

Executive Producers for Simon & Schuster are Richard Rhorer and Chris Lynch.  

The PRX production team is Jocelyn Gonzales, Morgan Flannery, Pedro Rafael Rosado and Morgan Church

Jesi Nelson composed the Unsung Science theme music, and our fact checker is Kristina Rebelo. Special thanks to Olivia Noble
For more on the show, visit Go to my website at David or follow me: @Pogue on your social media platform of choice. Be sure to like and FOLLOW Unsung Science wherever you get your podcasts.

Introducing: Season 2 of Unsung Science with David Pogue

From NASA helicopters in space to robot buoys at sea, “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent David Pogue is covering all the latest innovations across tech and science on season 2 of Unsung Science. Hear interviews with industry leaders who take you behind the scenes of the world’s greatest advances in transportation, food, space, internet, and health. New episodes every other Friday.