/ Food & Drink

Should we stick to eating seasonal veg?

winter veg

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.

Veg crisis

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.

Seasonal veg

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

Loading ... Loading ...

You could blame floods which is what many round the world are saying in various countries or you could blame(as they do in America ) high “gas ” prices (petrol ) transportation costs , which raises transportation costs it takes 6 weeks for increases in oil futures to translate to the pumps. OIl products are used to make fertilizer that adds 20 % to the cost of grain , j higher oil prices increase corn,wheat,soybean (2001-2007- increase by 40 % ) USA now uses 40 % of its corn crop to make ethanol . Next WTO limits the amount that the US/EU can subsidize and stockpile reducing the cushion of availability to add to the food supply when there are shortages adding to food price volatility , people (some ) are getting richer so they eat more meat -grains go to animals providing that that meat further reducing sullies , so we have this convo , any chance of getting a reply by email Which ? –news – second time Internal server web-page fault (error ) comes up.


Good morning Duncan, are you able to explain where you’re seeing these errors? I’ll do some digging and try and get this resolved – screen shots to conversation.comments@which.co.uk would be helpful. Thank you


Hello Lauren its the type of black screen with writing that usually appears on Which when things aren’t right with a big X top right to remove it , its not particular to other websites , I no longer receive emails from Which informing me of replies to my posts .I thought I was the only one one but Alfa has the same problem with the same screen error- internal server error , all my other emails work okay from other websites . The last time this sort of thing happened Patrick fixed it. Its an error that happens within a local server (web owners ) not an external fault when it attempts to show a HTML page and is out of my control due to misconfiguration of the server -please see – webmaster of website, is typical response , my request could not be performed , obviously the action required to notify me of a response to my emails. -Good news ?-not my fault -bad news? – you might not be able to fix it ??


Hi Duncan, I’m doing some digging to see what the issue is. We did push an update on Convo on Friday which may have done something here – when did these errors start to appear?


I welcome seasonal fruit and vegetables. Transporting food half way round the world is very wasteful and having seasonal produce gives us something to look forward to.


So far as possible we avoid imported salads and vegetables. Most of them have been produced under industrial conditions and spend too long in ‘post-production’ going through unnatural processes to standardise them for the supermarkets.


I look for UK and preferably local produce. Fruit that has been picked well before it is ripe so that it can be transported and stored can be rather tasteless.


Buying some fruit in supermarkets is unavoidable as farm shops and farmers’ markets cannot supply the range out of season. I notice that people look for packaged fruit [like berries, grapes, peaches, plums, etc] that have the longest dates on them. We take the opposite approach and buy those that need to be eaten immediately or very soon as the house is too warm to ripen things properly whereas the major supermarkets do at least seem to keep produce at the right temperature all the the way through the supply chain even if it is too drawn out. M&S and Waitrose seem to get it right more than other stores but they are thirty miles away so compromises occasionally have to be made and we find Sainsbury’s satisfactory.