If ever there was a reason for eating in season and growing your own veg, it’s now.
Last week, a friend invited me over for dinner. She had her whole menu planned but couldn’t source one key ingredient – courgettes.
Having seen some for sale in my local shop the previous evening, I offered to pick some up for her and was completely shocked by the price when I did – £5.75 for five!
Even the cashier couldn’t quite believe it and weighed them three times before concluding, with an apologetic shrug, that that was indeed the price. Too embarrassed to put them back, I sucked up the cost.
I’d heard that there was a shortage on due to wet and cold weather in Spain and Italy, where courgettes are mainly grown at this time of year, but hadn’t realised quite how much the price had risen because of it.
And it isn’t just courgettes that are affected. The supply of other veg, such as aubergines, tomatoes, broccoli, baby spinach, cauliflower, peppers and lettuce, is also down.
In fact, such is the deficit on iceberg lettuces, that both Tesco and Morrisons recently rationed their customers to three per visit. Naturally, the ban led to some sellers taking advantage of the situation, with one enterprising trader offering a box of a dozen iceberg lettuces for £50 on Gumtree.
The whole saga has got me thinking that perhaps I should change my diet and start eating according to the seasons.
Growing up, I wouldn’t have been eating courgettes or salad in the middle of February. In fact, it would be things like swede, parsnips, leeks and spring cabbage – and most of it would have come from my grandad’s allotment.
And although I’m not ready to put my name down for a plot just yet (the waiting lists in London are too long in any case), I’m thinking that I should turn some of my garden over to growing veg this year.
Top of the list would be courgettes, peppers, tomatoes and salad crops. But if I’m going to do that, I guess I’d better get in quick. Apparently, packets of lettuce and courgette seeds are currently flying off garden centre shelves…
Do you eat according to the seasons? Has the veg shortage in southern Europe got you rethinking your ways? Are you planning to grow your own this year?
Do you grow your own vegetables?
No - I buy all my veg (56%, 856 Votes)
Yes - quite successfully (23%, 343 Votes)
I try to (21%, 319 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,518