There are lessons to learn from the great British lettuce crisis

Empty shelves
© Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The puns are flying across Britain as they suffer through the Courgette Crisis, (that's what they call zucchini) and an iceberg shortage of Titanic proportions. It is a kale fail.

I think they should take the lead from the Times and “romaine calm,” and perhaps think about what they eat and where it comes from. Perhaps think about what their parents ate. As Emma Thelwell notes in the BBC:

We've become a "slightly strange group", expecting all-year-round produce, according to Lord Haskins, the former chairman of Northern Foods, which supplies Tesco."Thirty years ago you'd never have worried about buying lettuce in the middle of the winter - lettuces were things that grew in the summer and you ate them in the summer - you ate cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts in the winter," he says.

When spouse Kelly Rossiter used to write recipes for TreeHugger and the late lamented Planet Green, we would go through the winter eating what was basically a 19th century English diet: lots of root vegetables, carrots potatoes, and her yummy canned tomatoes. Lettuce and green vegetables never crossed our lips in those times. It was sometimes tedious, but it had advantages; food was cheap and when Spring came, everything tasted wonderful. I learned to love eating with the seasons.


Alice Jones writes in iNews that everyone should learn from this.

Supermarkets have made it that way by providing shoppers with everything they want, all of the time. It’s always summer in Sainsbury’s. Buy a bag of lettuce, eat a bit, wait for the rest to go brown, throw it away – and repeat. A few more empty shelves every so often might at least give us food for thought.

In the Financial Times, they hope that the crisis leads to “an appreciation of international trade.” Of course they would.

Odder than the rumours of panic-buying is, perhaps, our modern, urban surprise that the produce in the supermarket boxes or the crisper compartment of the fridge comes from a real place that can be affected by real phenomena like drought, snow and ice.

TreeHugger has noted that when you eat out of season imported food, you are eating fossil fuel- all the energy it takes to ship it, to heat greenhouses, to make fertilizer.

Meanwhile, British readers can troll through our Easy Vegetarian Recipes category and find Oven-baked rutabaga fries [vegan], 13 vegetarian recipes to celebrate winter squash and don’t miss 10 great recipes for eating local and vegetarian in February

Tags: United Kingdom

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