Think before you eat - and try home-grown

I hope over the past few months since I have been writing ‘Gardener’s Notes’ I have encouraged a few of you to pick up a spade and try growing your own vegetables.

I am sure there are still a lot of you who feel that you are far too busy to start growing your own and find it much easier to go online and order your weekly shop from the supermarket.

The National Farmers Union reported recently that food we grow and consume in the United Kingdom has plummeted from 80 per cent in 1980 to 64 per cent now. According to the NFU research, Britain now imports 93 per cent of its fruit and 47 per cent of its vegetables.

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Despite Britain’s £24 billion food and drink trade deficit, just 0.9 per cent of agricultural land in the UK is used to grow crops for human consumption.

We now seem to have gone away from eating fruit and veg that is in season and grown in this country. Our diet now consists of eating strawberries in December and asparagus all the year round.

In France 20 per cent of food stocked in supermarkets has to be sourced locally. I feel it is very sad that despite us having some of the best apple orchards in the world and growing such wonderful varieties as Cox’s orange pippin and russets, the majority of apples on our supermarket shelves are imported.

I am afraid the problem is set to get worse if the Government does post Brexit trade deals with the US.

The National Press ran a very funny story a few months ago which said: A lady went into a top London restaurant and asked to see the chef. When the chef came, she said “I am lactose intolerant and have a wheat allergy,I also have an allergy to garlic and nuts. What would you advise I order?” to which the chef promptly replied “A taxi”

The Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc recently told Country Life Magazine that food intolerance has become almost a fashion item, with many of his customers now giving instructions such as no milk, no flour, no lemon.

Blanc said British consumers have for too long not cared about how their food is produced but are now becoming aware of the effects. We have been self-destructing but were re-starting to appreciate the cost.

We are thinking about those chemicals and putting them together with our ill health. By growing and creating what we need here, you prevent all that pollution and its effects, the chef said.

Next time you are going around the supermarket or doing your online shop, just try an English apple, or when planning your Sunday lunch, try a good English grown potato with English grown carrots, parsnips and brussels sprouts. I am sure you will find them just as tasty as the imported alternatives, if not better.