Tag Archives: television

Southern England Farms trials English workers

Cornish-based vegetable grower Southern England Farms has taken part in the BBC programme Inside Out South West, highlighting the migrant labour crisis by employing a group of young people from Plymouth to pick cabbages.

After four hours the farm’s Eastern European staff had picked nearly 10 times as many cabbages as the young British workers. Jennifer Brunt, 23, who works in sales, said, “This is hard, my hands are too small and they’re cold and my nose is running. My fingers are already frozen and we haven’t even been here for an hour.”

Another woman, 22-year-old Cambridge-graduate Hottie Burrows, had to sit in a tractor to warm her hands up. “Honestly, I was in so much pain but I don’t quit,” she said. “Like last year I ran two marathons if I can do that why can’t I pick cabbages?”

The farm normally employs 500 pickers. Owner Greville Richards commented, “It’s rewarding if you want to get on. Some of the teams that we have here earn very good money. Now we are finding that we are Bulgarian and Romanian, purely because the Lithuanians and the Polish don’t want to come here because there’s nothing in it for them now with the way the exchange rate is.”

One British worker said they would “never” consider the job as a career.

Photo Caption: The farm normally employs 500 pickers.

Photo Credit: Southern England Farms

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BBC Harvest series to return

The BBC has announced that its popular Harvest programme will return this month with a three-part series hosted by Gregg Wallace, Philippa Forrester and new presenter, dairy farmer James Manning.

According to the broadcaster, each episode will focus on three different locations in the UK. The team will follow this critical time of year as the nation’s farmers find out whether their efforts have resulted in a successful yield, showing the impact that harvest can have on the food industry and everyday consumers. Among the producers featured in the new series are Thatcher’s cider in Somerset and Sussex-based sweetcorn grower Peter Barfoot.

28 year old North Herefordshire dairy farmer James commented, “For me, harvest is the time of year when all your hard work as a farmer pays off. All the ups and downs, the long nights and early mornings have all been working up to this moment. The best bit about filming for me has been meeting other farms, seeing the pride and pleasure they get at this time of year. It’s been fantastic to see British farmers trying new things and innovating the way they work to farm smarter, bigger and better than the year before.”

Jamie Oliver and Asda push wonky produce

TV stars Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty have used their latest series: Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast on Channel 4 to persuade supermarket Asda to stock misshapen or ‘ugly’ vegetables after meeting growers.

Doherty claimed, “Up to 40 per cent of everything farmers grow gets rejected by supermarkets because it doesn’t meet their strict beauty standards. Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of veg. are thrown on the scrapheap.” The programme spoke to Kevin Hammond and his son Oliver of Tattersett Farm near Fakenham in Norfolk who told the presenters the future of their business was on the line with only half the crop making the necessary specification. “We’ll make a loss on this crop this year,” said Kevin, referring to a field of carrots. “We estimate that 40 per cent of this field are splitting.”

Mr Oliver said, “If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg. by the trolley load. There’s no difference whatsoever in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans.”

The range includes discounted products such as Claude Carrot, Paul Potato and Suzie Swede. According to the supermarket, the new range will increase potato crop utilisation by 10 per cent and swede by 15 per cent.

Asda produce technical director, Ian Harrison, explained, “The first step in this project was to look at how we could extend use by dates on produce. Our ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ range, which would have either gone to waste or been used for further processing, will now be celebrated for its freshness, value and quality in stores.

“We’ve been working very closely with our farmers to make sure we have excellent knowledge of our supply chain. Our growers are savvy and already use a large percentage of this wonky crop for further processing, for things like ready meals and juicing, but we saw an opportunity to extend this even more.

“There is still work to be done in encouraging customers to give ‘wonky’ fruit and veg. a go, but we hope our campaign will break down some of those barriers and make ‘ugly’ food more accessible for shoppers and families.”

The new lines will be launched in store later this month with around a 1/3 discount to regular produce.

The post Jamie Oliver and Asda push wonky produce appeared first on Hort News on 14 January 2015.