Black market in the green stuff

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Forget Mexican walls, Article 50 or Parliamentary dissent, the major talking point of 2017 so far has to be vegetables and the lack of.

First it was spinach, then courgettes, now we are told that all manner of salad products are in danger of being off limits to British dinner plates after rain caused havoc on the plains of Spain.

For the first time since June there has been a European crisis, which not even the most ardent of remainers can blame on Brexit. It could spell potential disaster for slimming clubs everywhere because, armed with the excuse that there isn’t an iceberg to be found within sweating distance, millions of part-time dieters might be forced to dig out the chip pan instead.

For chubsters like me, salad is either a treat one feeds to the kids’ pet rabbit or something which usually makes an appearance as an garnish during a visit to the steakhouse, but the hysteria around a food ‘shortage’ is always something to behold.

Thanks to smartphones, supermarkets are on a hiding to nothing as an empty shelf always makes a great status update but in the past couple of weeks, fruit and veg aisles have made particularly gloomy pictures. Some stores have taken the step of rationing lettuces, although if it is anything like our house, they will all roll to the back of the fridge and stay there until they turn yellow. There were even reports of one Del Boy offering a box of icebergs for £50, prompting journalists to write about a lettuce black market. We were told to expect a further shortage of ‘favourites’ such as rocket and citrus fruit among others. We may have to endure this ‘misery’ until April.

I have found myself agreeing with Alan Titchmarsh who said the shortage should serve as a reminder for us to buy seasonal British products such as root veg. He said we have ‘lost the joy of anticipating’ summer fruit and vegetables. We have to face the fact that we don’t have a divine right to be eating soft fruit while it is still going dark at four. The ridiculous fuss being made of the fact we are unable to get our hands on non-essential food items for a couple of months is perhaps the most damning indictment of modern life for quite some time.