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Seasonal availability of local fruit and vegetables in and around Willersey Village.

Fresh Local Food

Seasonally available local fruit and vegetables in and around Willersey.

The Vale of Evesham which makes up part of Willersey has long been famous for its high fertility. Its is protected by the Cotswold escarpment which has helped form its soil over millenia and has been watered by the many tributaries of the River Avon. Willersey Stores, two stalls on the Broadway Road, Broadway Deli, Budgens, two farm shops on the A44 between Broadway and Evesham, another stall on the Willersey Road in Badsey and many others give access to all this local produce. Not everything can be available at each outlet because of the huge range. Badsey which borders Willersey has long been an important growing area. What is available at any one time depends on recent weather, which varieties are grown and how the grower can extend the season profitably. Local food is increasingly popular because of the better taste of the varieties chosen and greater freshness. For some consumers they also have concern about excessive food miles, the unreasonable fussiness of some large supermarkets and excessive plastic packaging. The shorter the distance that food travels, the less likelihood of disruption of supply. Its can also be good to meet and talk to the producer of your food.

Monthly Availability of Local Vegetables:-
      Vegetables         Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec  
    Artichoke               X X X X X X  
    Asparagus         X X X X            
    Aubergine             X X X X X X    
    Beetroot             X X X X X X X  
    Broad Beans             X X X X X      
    Broccoli     X X X             X X X
    Brussel Sprouts     X X X           X X X X
    Cabbage     X X X X X X X X X X X X
    Calabrese               X X X X X X  
    Carrots     X X X       X X X X X X
    Cauliflower     X         X X X X X X X
    Celery               X X X X      
    Chillies               X X X X      
    Courgettes             X X X X X      
    Cucumber           X X X X X X X    
    Kale     X X X X       X X X X X
    Leeks     X X X         X X X X X
    Lettuce     X X X X X X X X X X X X
    Marrows                 X X X X;    
    Mushrooms     X X X X X X X X X X X X
    Parsnips     X X X       X X X X X X
    Peas             X X X X X      
    Peppers             X X X X X X X  
    Potatoes     X X X X X X X X X X X X
    Pumpkins                   X X X X X
    Runner Beans                 X X X X    
    Spring Onion             X X X X X X X  
    Squashes                   X X X X X
    Sweet Corn                   X X X    
    Tomatoes           X; X X X X X X    

Monthly Availability of Local Fruit:-
    Fruit       Jan     Feb     Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sep     Oct     Nov     Dec  
    Apples     X X X X       X X X X X
    Blackberries                 X X X      
    Blackcurrants               X X X        
    Cherries               X X X X      
    Gooseberries               X X X        
    Pears     X X             X X X X
    Plums                 X X X      
    Redcurrants               X X X        
    Raspberries               X X X X X    
    Strawberries           X X X X X X X    
    Whitecurrants               X X X        

To give an idea of the choice available here are some of the huge variety of local grown plums:-
    Prolifics         Czars         Purple Pershore         Pershore yellow egg    
    Swan gage         Golden gage         Green gage         Bountiful    
    Sanctus Hubertus         Burbank         Victorias         Damsons    
    Marjorie Seedlings         Warwickshire Drooper         Coes Late Red         Cropper    

Fresh Local Fruit

refers to the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider-producing parts of England, reciting incantations, spilling cider on the trees and singing to them to promote a good harvest for the coming year. Traditionally, the Wassail is celebrated on Twelfth Night - January 5th. The purpose of Wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.
Here is a typical incantation:-
Here's to thee, old apple tree,
That blooms well, bears well.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
And all under one tree.
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Then everyone will shout and bang pots & pans to generally make a terrible racket.
Here is another typical Wassail song.

from The Fleece in Bretforton 1997 Apple Day Mummers Play

And did those teeth in ancient times crunch upon England's apples green?
And was the Bramley apple pie on England's dining tables seen?
And did the cider pure and strong pour forth in pints, and quarts and gills?
And did the apple bring good health to folks in dark satanic mills?

Bring me my Cox of burnished gold; bring me my Worcester, firm and sweet.
Bring me my pippins, new and old; bring me some English fruit to eat.
I shall not eat that tasteless pomme, nor shall a French fruit soil my hand,
Till English apples rule again in England's green and pleasant land.

Local Growers Squeezed by Supermarkets feature in the National Press May 12th 2015
The Observer newspaper ( Sunday 10 Mayth 2015) featured some of the fears of local growers in the Evesham Vale as they are squeezed by the supermarkets on the price they get for the fresh vegetable and salad crops they grow. Here is a taste of what the article said:
“A recent report by market analysts Begbies Traynor said the search by supermarkets for ever cheaper food was having a devastating effect on farmers and food-and-drink producers. It showed that the number of small and medium-sized businesses supplying supermarkets and in “significant” distress has doubled in a year from 728 to 1,414. “UK suppliers could find themselves squeezed even further, if not stamped out altogether,” it concluded. It all rings horribly true for Steve (a pseudonym), whose family farm has been growing lettuce, courgettes and tomatoes in Worcestershire's Vale of Evesham for more than 25 years.
“At some point we're going to be forced to retire because of the prices,” he says. “The government is going to lose all its salad producers. It's a shame to lose a tradition. Evesham used to be full of market gardeners. It's empty now; there's nothing left. There are six to eight growers that are quite big and a few small ones, but they won't last long.
“Any farmer who says it's good is lying. People are scared. The supermarkets say, “You can't match the price? Sorry, we're going elsewhere.” I was making more money per kilo of lettuce 20 years ago. A box of courgettes went for 4 to 5.20 years ago; now it's 1.80 to 2. At the same time, labour costs have gone from 2.80 an hour to 6.70. We've been forced to stop growing leeks and onions because of the price.”
Transition Evesham Vale (TEV) conducted a comparison between the costs of fruit and vegetables at local farm shops and the Evesham supermarkets. People often assume the supermarkets are cheaper but that is not always the case and nor do they always have the range of local produce which farm shops do. The five main supermarkets Aldi, the Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco were compared with five local farm shops around Evesham Collis's, Ellenden, Hampton's, Meadwell and Wayside. Most of the farm shops stocked a range of high quality local produce tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, cauliflower, beans, leeks, courgettes and so on, also plums, cherries and still some raspberries. The supermarkets' prices were slightly cheaper overall, but certain items like runner beans were much cheaper in farm shops. That was also true for plums and cherries, some supermarkets had no plums at all (in the Vale, in August!), one had them from Spain instead!
However, other factors need to be born in mind. One is that supermarkets can sell at lower prices because they buy in bulk and drive down the prices they pay to the farmers which does no-one any good in the long term. The next is that their produce even if sourced in the UK has usually been transported around the country and built up a number of food miles. Thirdly, money used in farm shops keeps it in our local economy, paying local wages and local farmers, profits don't go off into the pockets of supermarket owners and shareholders (except the Co-op where the profits are shared by the members). The result? In purely cash terms, the supermarkets by 2-1, but in relation to our local economy and the planet's future, score reversed 2-1 to the farm shops!
Steve Martin Chair of TEV commented: “This article is a disturbing insight into the plight of local growers, many of whom have farmed for many generations. It is time for supermarkets to step up to the plate and support local food supplies. If those who grow go out of business then everyone suffers and the nation's food security becomes a major issue.” Here is some more detail.

Here are Local Newsletters on Cotswold trees and other matters.

According to the Autumn 1995 Countryman page 88, the European Union support scheme, funded by the tax payer, created new systems which doubled yields of apples and created a surplus. The scheme was biased towards the larger apples of Southern Europe such as Golden Delicious (neither golden nor delicious) which qualified for intervention whereas smaller, better flavoured, English grown apples do not. Although our climate produces the best apples in the world, orchards have been destroyed - now to be golf courses or housing estates.

Britain is not self-sufficient in food production; in 2014 we imported 40% of the total food consumed and the proportion is rising.
When we do produce food plenty of it gets wasted. What can you do to avoid wasting food?

To plant a tree is to believe in tomorrow.

When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. When is the second best time to plant a tree? Now.

Fresh Local Cauliflower

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