Whatever one thinks of the EU, whether Leave or Remain, whether one thinks the end of the world is about to descend on our fair isles, whether one loves or dislikes Mr Juncker et al, whether one thinks we’re free at last and can do what we like now – there is one undisputed truth; that when it came to the shape and size of fruit and veg, there has, over the last 40+ years, been some seriously bonkers stuff wafting out of Brussels.
‘At last!’ came the cry the day after that referendum ‘Curvy cucumbers and bendy bananas!’ Actually I think that though the EU might once have aspired to vegetable world domination, they admitted defeat a few years ago now and allowed Mother Nature to have here wicked way.
Before that time, though, an ex-pat I once knew, who had fallen on hard times whilst living in southern France, decided to sell some of her garden produce – French beans, of course – at the local market. The response would have made President de Gaulle proud; it was a clear, resounding “NON”. It wasn’t that they were grown by a Brit that they could not be sold at the local market, rather it was that they were too long to be called a bean and furthermore, they were ‘bent’. The kids were saved from going hungry that night. Instead they feasted on beans. Bent beans.
Well my vegetable plot produces some right little horrors. Crooked cucumbers, twisted rhubarb, moth-eaten rocket, siamese twin radishes and beetroot and obscene tomatoes. Does it taste bad. Of course not.
But I reckon Brussels might still break down and weep if it saw my poor leeks. One of the former diktats was that the ‘white part of a leek had to represent at least one third of the total length or half the sheathed part’.
And that was about as clear as the mud they grow in.
In all fairness, I would not be able to market my leeks anywhere as food. By the time I got around to harvesting them they were as soft as steel rods and totally inedible.
Ah well, they make perfect Fairy Wands