Support the very best of our regional food industry
PUBLISHED: 13:25 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:34 09 June 2020
As we move into the summer months, the UK Government is encouraging us all to support the tireless farmers, fishermen and women who put food on our plates.
We can all do our bit to support the food industry, either by eating vegetables that are currently in season, trying new recipes using seafood caught in UK waters, or by taking a summer job on a farm. Here, we take a look at how everyone can help.
With pubs, restaurants and hotels currently closed, large quantities of local seasonal vegetables and fish landed on our shores are at risk of going to waste. To ensure this doesn’t happen, the UK Government is looking to inspire the nation to eat more in-season vegetables such as asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, salad leaves, courgette, spinach, tomatoes, radishes, beetroot and many others.
Everyone can do their bit to support farmers and get people eating fantastic fresh local food. As part of the campaign, home cooks across the country are being asked to share recipes using #SeasonalVeg on social media.
People are also being encouraged to become more seafood-savvy and try seafood species caught in UK waters, such as mussels, crab, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, hake, coley/saith, monkfish, sole and many others through the Sea For Yourself campaign.
Nearly half of UK adults would buy more seafood if they knew it was caught in UK waters, according to a survey carried out earlier this year for the Sea For Yourself campaign. A nationwide list of seafood suppliers is also being created to make it easy to find a local retailer, local fishmonger or even fishers who deliver locally.
There are also summer job opportunities available in our farms. People who are fit, healthy and looking for temporary work are being asked to apply for jobs to support the delivery of the best quality fruit and veg for everyone to enjoy. Lucy is a lettuce picker at a G’s Growers farm. She said: “I’m working on one of the iceberg lettuce rigs. I’m staying on site and it’s great – really, really enjoying it.
“I was actually travelling in sub-Saharan Africa and I had to come back because of Coronavirus, so I’ve decided to come and help Britain in the need for food.
“It’s a great team atmosphere. You move with the rig across the field, you have to keep up with the pace that the guys are picking it at – it’s great fun and I’m glad to be doing something useful with my time.
“I would very much recommend it to somebody else. I’m having a really good time, the people are really nice, and it’s nice to be out in the open air and doing something physical.”
Picking the right harvest job
Pick for Britain brings all recruiters into one place for those seeking work. From pickers and packers, to plant husbandry and tractor or forklift drivers, there are a wide range of roles available. There are summer job opportunities available in farms. Those who are fit, healthy and looking for temporary work are urged to go online and apply for seasonal labour jobs and support delivering the best quality fruit and veg for everyone to enjoy.
Furloughed workers, whose contracts allow them to, can take up seasonal work while continuing to receive their furloughed wage.
Bringing in the harvest from June through to September requires an extraordinary effort from farmers and growers across the country.
Visit the Pick for Britain website for more information: pickforbritain.org.uk/
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Tasty vegetables are a great source of vitamins
Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are an important part of a healthly, balanced diet.
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.
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 vegpower.org.uk/seasonalveg
More important than ever to have a healthy diet
Scott Watson has been growing radishes for G’s Growers in Feltwell, Norfolk, for more than 15 years. He said: “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 barbecues, which drives increased salad consumption as main meals.”
Scott said it is important for people to eat produce in season, and eat healthily. He said: “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 five portions of fruit and veg per day.
“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 vegpower.co.uk/seasonalveg
Sea great food for yourself
Seafood is a nutrient dense food source that provides a huge array of health benefits. Health experts recommend everyone should enjoy at least two servings of fish a week, one of which should be an oil-rich variety.
The Government led ‘Sea for Yourself’ campaign aims to inspire the UK to cook and eat more seafood caught in UK waters. It highlights often-overlooked species of seafood, which provide great sources of protein and can be cooked in a huge variety of delicious recipes.
The ‘Fish Is The Dish’ website contains recipe inspiration and tips on how to prepare species caught in UK waters including mussels, crab, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, hake, coley/saith, monkfish, sole and many others.
Find a seafood supplier at fishisthedish.co.uk/learn/how-to/where-to-buy
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