Delia Does It For Rhubarb

Tuesday, 6 April 2010  |  Admin

The awesome power of Delia Smith, the Nation’s favourite cookery expert, has been in evidence this weekend, causing a demand surge for Rhubarb.  ”Rhubarb is just coming into season and at its very best. I have to say that after 40 years of devising crumbles, tarts, trifles and other uses for rhubarb, this season’s offering has narrowly - but positively - claimed the top spot.”

This is all it took from Delia to spark a stampede for the vegetable that has cleared it from the shelves of the country’s supermarkets. Good news you would think for the UK’s Rhubarb growers?

This Awful British Winter

With farming of all types ever at the mercy of the weather,  the UK’s rhubarb producers are facing a slow start to the season as a consequence of the awful winter we have had this year; the crop is 3-4 weeks late. So unable to meet the demand created by Delia from UK growers, the big food retailers have been forced to import rhubarb from Germany & Holland, where it is grown using industrial processes that British rhubarb experts insist reduce its quality; not such good news for UK producers.

Uses For Rhubarb

The Yorkshire Rhubarb Growers Association representative Janet Oldroyd is angry: “I can’t understand why Waitrose has publicised this rhubarb recipe at a time when it is difficult getting both forced and outdoors-grown rhubarb in the UK.”

Farming is uniquely driven by weather patterns, but with over 75% of the UK population living in towns, people do not automatically recognise the link between the two; it is easy to understand how a retailer’s marketing department might not adjust inherently sound marketing strategies to unusual weather patterns. It is to the benefit of growers however that Delia has reminded the public of the appeal and uses of this most traditional dessert vegetable!

Rhubarb Special As Champagne

We understand why Janet Oldroyd is upset for her Association’s members, none of us wants to see hard working UK producers disadvantaged, and the timing of the Waitrose promotion is unfortunate in the context of the delay caused to this season’s crop by our awful winter.

In the long run however, more of us will be using the vegetable, and more of us will know that Yorkshire rhubarb is as special as Champagne, Parma ham, Roquefort cheese and Kalamata olives – it has just joined the EU’s list of protected foods. The indoor forced rhubarb, grown in sheds and traditionally harvested by candlelight to maintain their sweet flavour, has been recognised by the European commission, after years of petitioning.

Use UK Grown Rhubarb When It Becomes Available Later This Month

We can all support the Yorkshire Rhubarb Growers later this Spring when the high quality UK crop becomes available, by using the vegetable in our own kitchens. And Delia has made it very easy for us, just visit DeliaOnline by following the link below for a selection of proven recipes.
http://www.deliaonline.com/search.html?search_term=rhubarb&search_scope=336

Yin Yang Skincare supports British Farmers & Growers.