Riverford Wicked Leeks

taking a leek

Leeks are the vegetable equivalent of the sloth. We plant them way back in May and the last harvest is almost 12 months later. They take an age to get themselves established leaving them prone to all sorts of problems, the biggest being competition from weeds. Crops like courgettes and potatoes soon produce a dense, broad-reaching canopy that crowds outweeds, preventing them from getting the sunlight they need to grow, but with leeks no such domination occurs, so it is easy for neighbouring weed plants to establish themselves andstart to bully the slow growing leeks. We have to give the leeks a bit of a helping hand, using a machine that removes the weeds between the rows and plenty of manual work to get to the weeds really close to the leek plants.

We grow open-pollinated leeks that tend to be a little bit more varied than the genetically identical hybrid varieties that most supermarkets sell. It does mean that the leeks in the boxes are an assorted selection with fat, thin and bendy all welcome.

We have also invested in a new picking machine to help reduce the amount of back breaking harvesting that the team here have to do. It