The little gem lettuces in the boxes this week are the first of our outdoor crop. They look and taste great and it is always exciting to start a new season. We have had quite a few calls and e-mails since I mentioned last week that the lettuce, and many of the early crops, are advanced by covering them with a spun polypropylene fleece. It is true that the fleece is unsustainable (as is all activity based on oil) and for every early cut little gem about one gram will end up in land fill. However I would argue that this is less unsustainable than the alterative of trucking lettuce up from southern Europe with the associated traffic, carbon emissions and packaging.
Of course the planet would be in better shape if we all ate local, unprotected and in season produce; but if Riverford followed a hard core line on this over the next month, I suspect we would not have many customers left. We really do think very hard about the compromises we make in trying to maintain an acceptable quality and variety in the boxes with the minimum environmental impact. Next year, through a study we are doing with Exeter University, we should be able to give a definitive assessment of the impact of everything that we do from sowing the seed to delivering to your doorstep. We will use this to guide our future policy.
We have now come to the end of our own carrots, so this week