Countryside Live: Cheap fruit and veg undermining efforts on the farm but not the allotment

Horticulture expert Mike Prest at Countryside Live held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Picture: Tony Johnson
Horticulture expert Mike Prest at Countryside Live held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. Picture: Tony Johnson
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A GROWING popularity of allotment holding shows food provenance is increasingly proving more important than price, horticulturalist Mike Prest said.

Despite cheaper prices in the supermarkets for fruit and vegetables, more people are growing their own, he said.

Mr Prest is chairman of the regional crops board at the National Farmers’ Union and the Knaresborough Horticultural Society, and manned the Society’s late season show at Countryside Live this weekend. There were around 100 entries, including potatoes, carrots and onions, as well as baked goods and chrysanthemums. The best use of chrysanthemums class was won by Terry Wombell of Barnsley and the champion fruit and veg exhibit were two leeks shown by John Dale of York.

Mr Prest said: “Allotment holding is on the rise and it’s surprising because food is too cheap. Fruit and veg are cheaper now than they’ve ever been.”

But farmers are suffering as a consequence of the supermarket price wars, he said.

“Cauliflowers for example; in 2007 farmers received 45p per cauliflower, now supermarkets are paying about 38p.”