You can’t have failed to notice something is going on in the world of vegetables at the moment, some have labelled the current shortages affecting salad crops and courgettes a crisis, but should we be worried? While we feel for the Spanish farmers who are looking at a season of poor crops, likely to have a knock-on effect for most of the year, we’re not particularly worried here at Box Local HQ, as we aren’t reliant on imports for our weekly deliveries. We can’t afford to be complacent.however, as natural events can and do have an effect on what we can get hold of. A very cold January has meant a lot of crops are a lot further behind than our growers would like, but much is still available. Last year our French bean grower didn’t sell a single bean due to a fungal infection which wiped out his entire crop. These things do happen, but the trick for both grower and consumer is to diversify.
Changing our habits
The problems have arisen because as a nation we have become used to having our favourite fruit and veg available year round, but should it be this behaviour that we look to change? Do we need an iceberg lettuce in February or would a crunchy cabbage and carrot salad do the trick? Could we spiralise parsnips rather than a courgette? Do we need classic broccoli when purple sprouting broccoli is available locally? Rather than persist and encourage icebergs to be flown in from California, for us to pay twice as much for the privilege, shouldn’t we look to what is available closer to home?
By getting the majority of your veg through a seasonal scheme like Box Local, you are guided through the seasonal availability without even having to check a label. We will always track down as much variety as we can (a very large proportion of our box changes week on week) and we even have an almost constant supply of local rocket and spinach (which have both been rumoured to be coming from Australia shortly…)
Even without the weather, the upcoming tariffs and Euro exchange will make buying continental products a lot more expensive in the years to come, so perhaps this is a timely lesson in how to diversify our menus. Start to accommodate the veg we grow right here in the UK, and who knows, you might even like it!
Our recipe page is choc full of ideas for what’s around at the moment, baby turnips, purple sprouting broccoli and red cabbage being just a few of my favourites.
BOX LOCAL – THE LOCAL PRODUCE DELIVERY SERVICE FOR ST ALBANS. BRINGING THE FARM SHOP TO YOUR DOOR