Where have all the salad vegetables gone?! 8th February 2017 – Posted in: News and Events, Our food and drinks – Tags: , , , ,

Impassable Roads

Impassable Roads

It has been widely reported in the national press this week that we are suffering a shortage of everyday salad items such as Iceberg lettuces and courgettes amongst many other things. We are quite cossetted in this country as things like this never happen here as we expect to be able to go to our local supermarket and buy pretty much want we want when we want.

Under Snow

Gertrude under snow

I am not too old to remember the winter freeze of 1987 when we had a huge snowfall which lasted for days cutting off small villages and causing mayhem everywhere. It was during my college years and I was home for the holidays in Thorpe Bay where I grew up. My first car a burgundy Ford Escort affectionately known as ‘Dirty Gerty’ was under the snow for days.  My mum sent me to the local supermarket in The Broadway to get some shopping. I think it was privately owned then and everyone was being rationed to one pint of milk, one pack of porridge and worst of all one pack of toilet roll…………………….can you imagine?

As a small business we try to support local suppliers but even they have had problems but have done their best to keep us supplied.However I have seen lettuces being sold at ridiculous prices and of such bad quality or simply ‘microscopic’ sizes. It is not the suppliers fault anywhere along the supply chain itself, but simply nature reminding us that we cannot and should not take this steady and regular delivery of our food as assumed any more.

In the summer months I strive to buy British, I even wrote about this in one of my articles for The Rayleigh Review Magazine last year www.rayleighreview.co.uk  about preferring English strawberries and English asparagus but they are not available all year round so inevitably they are imported as we the consumer still want them. Many salad items come from Spain and it was only a couple of weeks ago that we saw footage on the national news of Spain and other Mediterranean resorts under inches of the white stuff so of course it has to affect things.

On Monday I went to Sainsburys at the Weir to shop for the family. To be fair there were not too many empty shelves but there were no Iceberg lettuces and no courgettes at all.


This is not lettuce!!!

This is not lettuce !!!

I wasn’t after an Iceberg but it bought home to me that this is really happening everywhere.

I had not realised that courgettes were in short supply too so I had to go without.

No Courgettes

No Courgettes

Luckily we have not run out for our customers and  hope that Tom at Rayleigh Fruit and Veg will keep on sourcing them without problem. www.rayleighfruitnveg.co.uk

It is not just this that we as a business have had to contend with. In the last eighteen months in particular our food costs have soared  with the price of a 2.5 kg bag of prawns increasing by a whopping £10.00 and coffee prices rising due in part to bad harvest and weather issues elsewhere in the world. The very luxurious proper Jamaica Blue Mountain has risen by nearly £40.00 a kilo. Tea of Life and our Japanese Sencha have also experienced a big spike in prices too. We have not put our prices up as a result of this but have to wear the brunt of this added cost as all small businesses do too.

Lets hope that things get back to normal soon and that the snow forecast for parts of the country at the end of this week manages to avoid us or I am sure that some other crop will be affected too.

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