WE CAN all do our bit to support our food industry, be it eating vegetables that are currently in season, trying new recipes, or taking on a summer job at a farm. The UK Government are encouraging those who are fit and healthy to apply for seasonal job opportunities in farms this summer, doing their bit to feed the nation.
With pubs, restaurants and hotels currently closed, large quantities of local seasonal vegetables are at risk of going to waste. Vegetables in season include asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, salad leaves, courgette, spinach, tomatoes, radishes, beetroot and others. Home cooks across the country can share recipes using #SeasonalVeg on social media. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Eating plenty of vegetables helps keep us healthy and may reduce the risk of disease and some cancers. The UK’s food and drink industry is a global success story, worth more than £31 billion to the economy and employing over 450,000 people. For families, there are lots of varieties of vegetables to choose from. Even if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, you’re bound to find something tasty your child will like.
You can find a handy list of seasonal vegetables at www. vegpower.org.uk/seasonalveg The Weekly Gleaner heard from Scott Watson who is a Radish Grower at G’s Growers in Feltwell Norfolk. He is been growing radish for G’s for over 15 Years.
Q: What types of fruit and veg are in-season now?
A: The UK outdoor salads season is now well under way with lettuce, spring onions and radishes all being harvested on UK farms. Our radish harvest started at the end of April and we have now been supplying UK grown radishes for over a month, The fine weather has meant that we have seen strong demand at the start of the season. Radishes always sell well when the sun is out and people get going with BBQs, which drives increased salad consumption as main meals.
Q: What are your favourite in season fruits and vegetables?
A: Radishes of course. However, it’s also great to enjoy UK asparagus.
Q: Why is it important to eat in-season for the industry?
A: We supply radishes from our farms in Norfolk between April through to October. It is a fast-growing salad crop so if there is heightened demand, we have the capability to grow more quite quickly. During the summer it only takes a month to grow from seed to harvest, which is much shorter than most other salad and vegetable crops.
Q: What are the health benefits of eating seasonal fruit and veg?
A: With the challenges of lockdown it is more important than ever that we try to eat a healthy balanced diet and ensure we are at least trying to get our 5 portions of fruit and veg per day. Snacking on radishes is a healthy choice as they are a source of Vitamin C and if you eat a third of a standard 240g pack it counts as 1 of your 5 a day. Snacking on radishes is a really low calorie and fulfilling alternative to snacking on a bag of crisps or other unhealthy processed foods.
Q: Where can people look to source fruit and veg locally?
A: Currently the majority of our sales go through the major UK supermarkets, where you can typically buy our radishes in 240g bags at circa 55p per bag. This works out at 18p per 80g portion – really great value! How – ever, we also supply radishes to the box schemes for inclusion in their stir-fry recipes and also expect to see more of our radishes on the fruit and veg markets as they start to re-open.
Q: How can people support the industry further?
A: Radishes are still a relatively niche vegetable but are really great value and make for a great healthy snack, so we would just encourage everyone to give British radishes a go this summer and think about them as an alternative healthy snack that’s not just beloved of Peter Rabbit!! Also, it’d be great if people who are cooking with radishes or other seasonal vegetables shared it on social media using the hashtag #SeasonalVeg
For more info on the #SeasonalVeg campaign, visit: www.vegpower.co.uk/ seasonalveg
For more exciting info and fun facts about radishes visit: www.loveradish.co.uk