I sat down to write about non-fungible tokens, the new investment fad sweeping the very small world out there that understands NFTs. It is also consuming a large swath of people, mostly digital artists, who are willing to put real money behind this abstraction, not because they understand it, but because they fear they may miss out on an unthinkably rare opportunity to make enough money to pay their rent.

It is becoming apparent that I am not sufficiently intellectual to grasp the concept of non-fungible tokens to my satisfaction. I’ve spent hours with articles and videos all claiming to reveal everything you need to know about minting, selling and buying non-fungible tokens. And, I now know how to do those things; I am just not clear about what is being sold and bought, and why it would be of any value, except to the seller. Something doesn’t add up.

Since I am drawing a blank here, and with all the trouble brewing in the world, I thought it might be a good time to write about baby carrots instead. Sometimes you just have to back off, put some distance between yourself and the last election, step back from the insurrection, put pandemic concerns aside, take politics in stride and get to your safe space where the baby carrots grow.

There is a comfort in writing about something that I understand, and non-fungible tokens aren’t one of those things. But I should give you my take on how NFT’s work, in case some reader can correct me. Say you’re an artist creating artwork on your computer — maybe something famous like the blue-and-red Obama Hope poster. People are nuts over it and it’s all over the internet. You can have a digital token “minted,” for a fee, certifying you as the artist and owner, and certifying a digital file of the art as the original (I think). This information is encrypted and protected against counterfeiting in a public ledger known as a blockchain. Now you can put this original token up for sale or auction. If I buy it, I can say “I own the original” even though you, as the artist, still retain the copyright and anyone who has a computer can find this art on the internet, print out a copy for themselves and look at it as long as they wish.

But wouldn’t it be fun to say that you own the original? What would that be worth?

The artist known as Beeple sold a digital collage NFT for $69 million; that’s U.S. dollars. The Canadian musician Grimes sold $6 million worth of tokens representing 10 pieces of digital art in a day, and that is exactly what I don’t understand. I’m pretty sure the buyers acquired nothing tangible.

When I own something, I like to hold it in my hand or put it to work doing something that needs to be done. Owning a non-fungible token, which certifies that you own a piece of digital art, is nothing you can hang on a wall or hold in your hand. Baby carrots, on the other hand, can be caressed with your fingers, look good on a plate, and feel even better in your mouth.

Of course, you are all familiar with baby carrots. They have a place at every school lunch and cocktail party, but a lot of us have been suspicious that these aren’t true baby carrots but mature carrots made to look like very young and tender produce.

Your suspicion is well founded. There are indeed three types of baby carrots: those pulled out of the ground before they mature, miniature carrot varieties that masquerade as babies even though they are fully mature and, most common, mature varieties of skinny carrots cut to length, peeled and packaged for your snacking pleasure. If you look closely at the packaging, these are often labeled “baby-cut carrots.”

Farmers plant the Imperator or Nantes carrot varieties that grow 10 to 14 inches long and have an even circumference the length of the carrot. These can be made into four to six baby-cut carrots. Cutting and sorting is controlled by computers who scan individual carrots with lasers and decide where to cut and … did I just use the pronoun “who” when referring to a computer? Oh, the inhumanity!

Baby-cut carrots now represent about 70% of the carrot market, and over half of all carrot sales. They outsell celery, potatoes and, for now, non-fungible tokens.

I try to put my money where my mouth is and, until I sort out this blockchain-authenticated token thing, my money is on baby carrots.