broccoli + the chattering classes

In case you are one of the “fettucine-eating chattering classes” described in the Telegraph last week, I would like to assure you that you will not be deprived of your purple sprouting broccoli for much longer. The story ran that cold weather was depriving this group of their newly adopted preferred greenery. As with the growers in the article, our early crops of PSB have been severely reduced by the cold December and early January. The plant has been breaking off at the point where the layer of snow fell around Christmas. But the traditional PSB season doesn’t really get into full swing until March and we are expecting a good supply from mid March through to the end of April.

Few things irritate me more than the use of food as a defining element of class and fashion. I like to think that food brings us together rather than defines our differences. Maybe I just need to lighten up and chatter, but we have been growing the stuff for 25 years and you have been happily enjoying it as vegbox customers for 18. During that time we have championed it not as a fashionable fad, but as the original broccoli, before the meteoric rise of its cousin calabrese (green broccoli).

You will have noticed that the hole left by frosted PSB has been largely plugged by calabrese from our growers in Italy and Spain. I am not a great fan of this frost-tender imposter. There is something about the untamed wildness of PSB that appeals to me over the hybridised uniformity of calabrese. I know this puts me in a very small minority (perhaps of one); I repeatedly get told that it is the only green stuff that some kids will eat, plus it is said to be a “wonder food”, so I hope you have been happy with it. But however good calabrese may be for you, my intuition tells me that PSB must be better.

Guy Watson from Riverford in Devon

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