Courgettes hit the headlines

Courgettes hit the headlines

courgettecrisis hashtag trending

The past month has seen the dawning realisation amongst supermarket shoppers that vegetables do not, in fact, have a 12-month season, and that they are, unaccountably, subject to the weather. A ‘perfect storm’ of flooding, cold weather and low light levels in Spain, which supplies 80% of Europe’s fresh produce in the winter months, led to gaps on supermarket shelves and mounting hysteria on social media, which saw the courgettecrisis hashtag trending.

Courgettes and spinach have been particularly affected, and crops of aubergines, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, lettuces and cabbages have also been hit. The bad weather has also damaged young plants and prevented new crops from being sown, so gaps on shelves – or higher prices – are expected to persist until spring. Britain, which imports an estimated 50% of its vegetables and 90% of its fruit, is particularly vulnerable to supply problems, but not since the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, which grounded planes for several days in 2010, have vegetable sales made such headline news.


The morals are, for gardeners, too obvious to need stating – but advice like ‘shop seasonally and locally’ and ‘grow your own’ was sadly lacking in most articles in the mainstream media. One Covent Garden trader was quoted as saying, “I’ve got plenty of English parsnips, potatoes and carrots but foreign produce is like gold,” – but the implication was unheeded by his interviewer, and probably by most of his customers.

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About the Author

Steve Ott

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