The contents of phenolic compounds and radical scavenging activities were assessed in a carrot collection comprising 35 cultivars, landraces and breeding populations. The accessions originated from various world regions and they represented Eastern and Western carrot gene pools. In two-year field trial carrot roots of orange, red, yellow, white and purple color were cultivated, freeze-dried and analyzed for phenolic content by Folin-Ciocalteu assay and UV/Vis assay. Radical scavenging activity in the extracts was determined with a stable DPPH radical. Carrots developing purple roots possessed on average 9 times more phenolics than roots of other colors. Furthermore, they were rich in anthocyanins that caused very high antiradical activity. Red carrots showed higher antioxidant activity than orange, yellow and white carrots and in the season of lower rainfall they accumulated higher amounts of phenolic compounds. Carrots of Asian origin belonging to Eastern gene pool were more often purple or red and richer in phenolics and had higher antiradical activity than those from the Western gene pool with mainly orange roots.