All is safely gathered in

September 6, 2018 6:19 am Published by Leave your thoughts

This month, we’re raising the song of harvest home. All around us at Naturally Good Food, the crops are being gathered in. The lanes are full of tractors and the colour of the fields changes day by day, as the gold and green of growth give way to a more subtle range of earthy colours.

Harvest is a time of taking stock, and if we’re lucky, a time of contentment with a good year’s crop. We thought we’d take stock too, of just what’s been growing all around us in the Great British countryside this year.

What do we grow in the UK?

We grow a lot! About 70% of our land (excluding inland water) in the UK is given over to farming, with roughly one-half of that used for crops. Through our farming activities, we meet over half of our food needs. The main crops grown in the UK are:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • oats
  • potatoes
  • sugar beet
  • various vegetables and fruits
  • oil seed rape.

If you’re looking for precision, Wikipedia has some stats:

‘In 2009, 3,133,000 hectares (7,740,000 acres) of cereal crops were sown in the UK. There were 581,000 hectares (1,440,000 acres) of oil seed rape, 233,000 hectares (580,000 acres) of peas and beans, 149,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of potatoes and 116,000 hectares (290,000 acres) of sugar beet. Each year the country produces about 6.5 million tonnes of barley. The country also produces 14 to 15 million tons of wheat each year.’

These crops can be found in all areas of the UK, but some areas have soils or a climate better suited to one than another. This BBC resource http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/23980594 gives a great, comprehensive account of just what grows well where. Here are a couple of snippets from it:

‘Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds

Rapeseed: Rich dark heavy clay soils are perfect for growing wheat and oilseed rape because clay soils retain high levels of both water and nutrients. Sunshine is claimed to have a big impact on the quality and the flavour of the end product.

Lowlands of Scotland

Raspberries: The summers are dry but not too dry and the long cool evenings allow for a longer ripening process, helping sugars to develop. Raspberries are grown on sheltered south-facing slopes where light and fertile soils provide great conditions for the plants.’

Most wheat, meanwhile, is grown in the eastern areas of the UK, such as East Anglia, the south-east and the East Midlands – though there’s plenty available in other parts of the country for future prime ministers to run through.

What crops do we sell at NGF?

At Naturally Good Food we may not reap the crops ourselves, but we certainly reap the benefits of them once they’re harvested. Our wholefoods – the basis of our business – are all plant-based foods that have been gathered in from fields, bushes and trees round the world, including the UK.  In our range, we’ve got:

Stock up…ere the winter storms begin

Some stubble remains on the fields around us – but some has been ploughed back in. The farmers are making preparations for the unpredictable winter months ahead. The storms of the harvest hymn have yet to begin, and sometimes, in the golden autumn sunlight, it seems like they’ll never come. But they will: and at Naturally Good Food, we’ll be ready, with everything you need to see you through them.

Naturally Good Reads v2

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This post was written by Yzanne

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