The Demise of the Cauliflower

If we believe the news reports over the last year, the Cauliflower is no more! Ok, I know you can still pop down to the nearest supermarket and buy one, so why such dire predictions in the press? Well, it seems that the farmers of Great Britain are facing more pressure to cut their prices so that the supermarkets can increase their profits! Now, I know that will not surprise anyone!

Any foodie out there in the real world will know it is nothing new for supermarkets to use their market position to get the best price. That practice is either the best news for consumers or the worst thing that could happen to mankind, particularly farmers. After all, with everything costing more, isn't it nice to have cheaper food bills? Most people would agree, but I must admit that I am not one of them.

Back to the Cauliflower, and newspapers now reporting that farmers are now getting less money for each one in real terms. Richard Hirst of the National Farmers Union said that the percentage that the farmer gets from the supermarkets was down to 20% of the retail price, and they are earning less than it costs to grow.

So why is the lower prices farmers are getting bad for us? Well, if all the farmers decide to stop growing produce in Britain, the supermarkets will source it from overseas. The upshot is that we will pay more for products that grow well here, which will be supplied to us with a far bigger carbon foot print than is needed. Certainly a victory for Global Warming!

What can we do to help the beleaguered farmers?

Well, the first thing you should do is take a positive step to know where your food comes from! Reading the label will help! After all, it stands to reason that cauliflowers grown in the country are far less carbon producing than those grown in South East Asia or Africa. The other thing to consider is the taste! Food shipped from overseas has been picked and packed for shipping weeks earlier than a comparable product that is sourced locally. I would prefer fresh to pristine when it comes to food!

Secondly, why get your weekly vegetable supply from the supermarket? Look at alternatives that give more back to those who do the hard work of growing the crops. There are plenty of 'Veg Box' suppliers that deliver to your door, and the good thing is that they are far less carbon producing that everyone popping down the supermarket for the same.

Thirdly, why not visit your local farm shop or Farmers Market. This will ensure that farmers get a good return for all the hard work that they do. Even if you live in London, driving to the farm shops are a great way to get the freshest food you can. Ok, so it is not the most carbon neutral thing you can do, but chances are it is not that far behind the food flown in from Africa situation. Also, it may be a bit of a surprise for the kids to discover food is not always wrapped in plastic.

Hopefully, I have given you some food for thought. Supporting farmers by buying directly from them makes sure they get a fair price for their produce. Being a farmer is not an easy life, but being a farmer and getting screwed by the supermarkets must be unbearable!