Why do you expect to eat salad in February anyway?

Food for thought.

Jim Webster

There is a shortage of salad vegetables in the UK at the moment. Given it is February I suspect my Grandmother would not have been particularly surprised by this. But a modern, environmentally conscious, and wealthy population expect to get everything, all the time.

The problem is that the consumer expects it to be cheap. And this is why we have run into trouble. Before Christmas the big producers (think the Lea Valley Association which produces cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, and lettuce in 3,450 acres of glasshouses) had discussions with the supermarkets. The discussion went something like this.

Food producer. “We need to plant now to harvest in February. If we plant now we will need to use £x (where x is a ridiculously large number) worth of gas to produce the crop. Thus the crop will cost £y.”

Supermarket. “Far too expensive, cut the price or we’ll just buy…

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