Shopping seasonal: vegetable shortages and biscuit droughts
It all started with the ‘Great British biscuit shortage’ of 2016 when The United Biscuit factory in Carlisle (we envision a Willy Wonka-esque mecca of McVitie’s favourites) was badly damaged in Storm Desmond.
It was a tough time for many households left with nothing to dip in their tea as bourbons, custard creams and ginger nuts temporarily halted production. Not even the delivery of thousands of biscuits from the Emirates via two jumbo jets could cure our woes.
Our friends over in New Zealand experienced similar problems last year. A combination of floods and bushfires caused a shortage of avocados as prices rocketed to as much as NZ $7 EACH (around £3.50). It also fuelled a wave of crime with avocados being stolen from farms and being sold on the black market and even accusations that farmers were manipulating the market for greater profit.
So, what’s happened in 2017?
We have found ourselves in a ‘courgette crisis’ and this isn’t down to our newfound love of spiralized courgetti. Poor weather in Spain has seen crops of our favourite salad ingredients severely damaged with little hope of contingency crops in France, Italy or Greece. Expected to last well into spring, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes are among the main produce affected with supermarkets forced to consider shipments from the USA. The cost to fly salad saviours halfway across the world will inevitably be reflected in price increases.
So, what can we do?
To ensure this doesn’t impact on your weekly budgets our advice is simple – shop seasonally, shop local and support your local farmers whilst saving the pennies. You can make it fun, too. Pick your own (PYO) farms are dotted all around the UK which can make for great days out with the family.
Shopping seasonally also gets you thinking outside of the box when it comes to mealtimes and encourages you to be creative in the kitchen with produce at its peak. In April, we will start to see an abundance of asparagus here in the UK with radishes, spinach, lettuce and spring onions also in season right through and into summer. As we enter May and June, beetroot, broad beans and tomatoes will be at the height of their seasonality, with July and August the perfect months for British fruit as apricots, blueberries and strawberries turn ripe and ready.
Fingers crossed the weather holds out!
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