Well it seems we all managed to make it through the horrors of the recent courgette crisis. Good work troops. British bulldog resilience at its best.
Except not really, eh? Because, lets face it, the so-called crisis wasn’t a crisis at all, was it? It was just how life ought to be and, indeed, was until we all started wanting courgettes out of season and getting giddy about plant-based diets.
Aubergines in February? Lettuce pumped full of chemicals, forced in heated, irrigated Spanish greenhouses the size of a small town then flown to a supermarket near you? Madness. And a special type of madness when you think about the fabulous and bountiful organic vegetable gluts provided by UK growers. Kale, cauliflowers, sprouts, acres of savoy cabbages… all there in our fields, just waiting to be eaten. Certainly the savoy cabbage crop is at its peak in my patch at the moment. Sure, a cabbage isn’t as bright and colourful and juicy as its drugged-up greenhouse-grown continental competition. But IT’S MARCH: THAT’S THE POINT – dark nights, frozen earth, hearty soups etc.
And, horror, prices have increased – some veg by as much as 300%. Have you ever tried to grow a perfect savoy cabbage? Let alone an organic one? It’s not easy, let me tell you. They are fiddly to germinate, need months in the ground, good food, staking, netting, fleecing – basically, a careful eye, especially if you want to be chemical-free, which I do. It’s certainly not 29p worth of easy which is what Lidl were charging customers for a savoy cabbage. We undervalue our veg, both from home and from abroad, so if this episode teaches us to have a higher regard for farmers who grow such perfect veg and means the cabbage growers of the UK have a bumper year then it’s not been all bad has it?
So let the spiralisers across the nation gather dust. And pick up a savoy cabbage in order to celebrate our fabulous homegrown harvest. My savoys are pert, crisp and ready to eat and this is my favourite cabbage supper – mainly because it puts the cabbage centre stage. Which is right were it should be at this time of year. So move over courgette, there’s a new better green in town…