I fully approve of this

Britain is enjoying a remarkable apple boom, as hundreds of new community orchards revive lost varieties and contribute to a thriving heritage market.

According to Steve Oram, who is the apple diversity officer at the wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species: “We are adding new orchards to the register all the time. Some are in allotments, others in schools and even housing developments.

“After the postwar years of neglect and destruction, when 90% of the UK’s orchards were lost and supermarkets sold only a few varieties and imported 70 to 80% of their apples, it is very exciting.”

The Newquay community orchard in Cornwall was started in 2015 with a £66,000 crowdfunding appeal. More than 2,000 trees, including 120 local heritage varieties, have been planted on land donated by the Duchy of Cornwall.

Wholly and fully – as long as they’re doing what it says on the tin.

If people want little orchards of native (well, you know) apples then people should have little orchards of native apples. As long as, of course, they’re creating and maintaining those little orchards of native apples at their own expense. This is, after all, what liberalism means, that the peeps get to do what the peeps want. And if we’re to add some Burkean conservatism so that it’s the little platoons sorting it out for themselves then all the better.

As long as no one is being forced to pay for this through taxation then what could possibly be the problem?

At another level this is climbing Maslow’s Pyramid again. At one level of income we’ll take fruit in the only way we can, seasonally and in a limited manner. We get richer, technology advances, we can have apples year round – but that does mean trade, commercially sized operations and the inevitable limited selection. We get richer again and now we’ve more than sufficiency, let’s have that variety back again.

After all, it’s not as if we’re not seeing this right across the food chain, is it?

That roast beef of Olde Englande was most certainly better than the bully beef from Argentina or the Fray Bentos pie. As is the best grass fed British beef of today. But we moved through the cycle to get from most not being able to eat any beef, to all being able to have bad beef, to now again thinking more about the quality – we have a more than sufficiency of beef and can be picky about it.

Some people just don’t like efficiency, do they?

There’s plenty you could do to make it a more sustainable industry. You could slow the growing time and give birds more room on farms, using less engineered breeds that take 12 weeks, rather than just over a month to reach slaughter weight. That would help curb some of the cruellest aspects of the business, which see densely packed, overbred birds, prone to disease and bacterial infection, collapsing under their own weight. But that would cost more. In the factory you could slow the speed of the lines, so that cross-contamination of carcasses was less likely, and workers’ jobs less relentlessly tough and unpleasant, thus easing the pressure to break hygiene rules and making the sector more attractive to local staff. But that, too, would cost more.

We know roughly how much more, since the top end of organic production already does these things, and a posh chicken from that sort of outlet is three to four times as expensive as a conventional supermarket one. But there are hardly votes in arguing we should pay that much for our chicken. Politicians dare not say it for fear of sounding Marie Antoinette-ish. But the price of cheap is too high, and we should probably be eating something else.

Felicity Lawrence in The Guardian. We should all be paying much more for our food because…..well, actually, because Lady Muck here thinks it’s all too cheap.

Not unusual at all

‘It’s good, but it’s not quite Carling,’ according to the advertising slogan.
As it turns out, it’s not as good as it says it is on the label.
The company behind the lager has dodged a £50 million tax bill because the drink is weaker than advertised.
Carling is marketed in Britain at 4 per cent alcohol strength, but brewers Molson Coors have admitted it is weaker for tax reasons. Court documents reveal the lager has been made to a strength of about 3.7 per cent for the past five years.
But Molson Coors did not change the strength recorded on Carling labels to prevent drinkers from ‘demanding a slice’ of the saving, tribunal documents said. The brewer insists customers have not been misled and its labelling was ‘entirely consistent with the law’.
The details emerged in a tax tribunal brought against the beer makers by HMRC over an alleged unpaid multi-million-pound duty bill.

There was, back in the heyday of the plastic beers, one which was withdrawn from sale once the strength had to be publicly announced. It was brewed to a strength where it wasn’t really alcohol you see, at least not in what duty had to be paid although it was sold in pubs at something close to the price of other beers.

Firefighters only delay the inevitable

The 18 piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw 60 tonnes of hay catch fire.

The animals were given a six-month stay of execution when they were rescued from the farm at Milton Lilbourne.
But, having been reared for meat they have since been slaughtered and the sausages were delivered to the fire station team, which barbecued them.

And yes, they were delicious.

I think though it was “some” of the 18 piglets, not all – be a bloody big fire station which could have eaten the lot.

Well, of course

British retailers have called for the government to take tougher action on tackling obesity and consider mandatory measures to ensure more companies make their products healthier.

Public health bosses have urged food manufacturers to make chips, pizzas, crisps and burgers healthier, and ministers are expected to issue “strong guidance” on how to reformulate products popular with children.

However, the British Retail Consortium, which represents more than 90 retailers including major chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, said the government would need to move beyond voluntary agreements if it wanted to make a real difference.

“We believe voluntary approaches only take us so far,” said Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, deputy director of food and sustainability at the BRC.

“If you really want to make a difference then there is a need for stronger measures. Taxes might be one of way of doing it but there are alternatives to taxes such as mandatory targets.”

To translate. We know the demanded changes will make everything taste like shit. So, none of us will do it voluntarily, fearing loss of business. You know, the punters just don’t like stuff that tastes of shit.

So, force everyone to do it.

Meurig can bugger off quite frankly

The NFU has called on the government to grasp Brexit as an opportunity to reverse a steady decline in self-sufficiency over the past 30 years.

The farming union said that with the right support it would be easy to replace the salad mountain imported from east Africa, pork from countries such as Denmark and New Zealand, and beef and dairy from other EU countries such as Ireland.

“We’re not advocating a fully self-sufficient nation – we recognise the need for importing food which can only be produced in different climates. But what we should be doing is maximising on the food production we are good at,” said Raymond.

At which point they say this:

The NFU said farming was such an important contributor to the economy – generating 3.9m jobs and revenues of £109bn a year – that the government needed to recognise the sector’s needs.

Lies, flat out lies.

That’s the whole food and booze sector. Almost all of which would exist with or without farming anything at all in Britain. Actual British farm production is more like £9 billion, tops. And then there’s this:

The NFU said it wanted a clear transition period after Brexit, during which the UK will remain in the customs union, that the UK remained within the external tariff area, which would guard against the country being flooded by cheap imports of questionable quality.

So we’re going to continue to import lots of our food but it must remain expensive eh Meurig?

Sorry, bugger off.


The research shows that 47% of the children receiving supplies from food banks were aged 5-11, while 27% were under five and a fifth were aged 12-16.

Samantha Stapley, operations manager for England at the Trussell Trust, said the statistics highlighted “just how close to crisis many families are”.

She added: “As a nation, we also must address the reasons why families with children are referred to food banks in the first place. We welcome the government’s decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time – the next step must be to help families during the holidays.”

The Rt Rev the Lord Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, described the figures as shocking, adding: “That so many primary-age children are going without food in our country is of great concern.

The number of people being fed from food banks is the number of people who are not going hungry in this country. Because they’re being fed from food banks.

Am I little endian or a big endian?

Been given some lovely fresh eggs, thus soft boiled eggs this morning. Not really something I’ve eaten for decades. Which leads to the existential problem, am I little or big endian? This is, as we all know, an important decision.

So far, having had two yummies, all I can say is that further research is required.

Anyone seen this report by Tim Lang?

The Guardian doesn’t mention the name of it at all. Not even which groupuscule publishes it:

The government is “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of insecure, unsafe and increasingly expensive food supplies, and has little idea how it will replace decades of EU regulation on the issue, a report by influential academics has said.

The study says ministers and the public have become complacent after decades of consistent food supplies and stable prices for the UK, something greatly helped by the EU.

Written by food policy experts from three universities, it is published on the day David Davis, the Brexit secretary, heads to Brussels for a second round of formal talks with the EU on departure arrangements.

Would dearly love to be able to scan through 88 pages of their misrepresentations…..

The Americans protest too much

New Zealand has claimed the “abomination” and “monstrosity” that is mince on toast, after uproar in the UK when an American food website said it was a classic of British cuisine.

The US website eater.com posted a video featuring mince on toast to Twitter on Monday, saying: “Mince meat on toast is a quintessential British comfort classic.”

Sigh, add tomato and toast a bun, not a slice, and you’ve a Sloppy Joe, which actually is a classic American dish. Eaten as a hamburger, kids just adore it. Because, you know, mince eaten like a hamburger, who wouldn’t love that mess?

Far the more interesting point being made here to us intellectualliti is this:

“To me it is something that has been around for ever: we had it as children and I would say generations of people on farms have eaten it in New Zealand,” said Helen Jackson, a food writer and former food editor at the New Zealand Women’s Weekly magazine.

“It is an absolute rural classic. Rural people used to have meat for pretty much three meals a day and you could heat leftover mince up for lunch or Sunday night dinner with buttered toast.

“And we’d make mince and cheese toasted sandwiches as well.”

No wonder NZ was such a popular place to emigrate to. It was very late in the day indeed that the British working classes had red meat three times a day. Where just the waste from the last meal was enough meat for the next.

Yes, yes, I know all those recipes like cottage pie and so on but again, it was late in the day that even they became something other than a treat.

Right, that’s it, hang them all

Brussels has announced plans to ban a cancer-linked chemical – but it is also found in one of Belgium’s signature favourites.
The European Commission’s move to ban acrylamide could see the end of the country’s famous crispy fries, which contain the allegedly hazardous compound.
Belgium, which claims to have invented ‘fries’, says the move to ban acrylamide will change the way they taste and destroy the country’s ‘rich gastronomical tradition’.

No, doesn’t matter, the EU has enriched the continent, brought peace for all these decades and created a veritable heaven upon Earth. And they must all die, immediately.

Messing with frites? Die heathen scum!

Height in children is a good indication of the general level of nutrition, isn’t it?

Children brought up on almond and soya milk are shorter than youngsters who drink just cow’s milk, a new study has found.

The plant-based products have become increasingly fashionable, with many extolling the health benefits of them, and others turning to them because of an intolerance or dislike of plain milk.

But the new study found that children who drink non-cow’s milk – including plant-based milk drinks and milk from other animals, are growing up shorter than those given traditional fare.

The research also suggests that children who drank a combination of cow’s milk and non-cow’s milk daily were shorter than average.


This is all most fun

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

Note the difference between “best before” and “use by”.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”

Quite so. The defence case being:

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

So, why not just abolish the whole idea of use by dates and rely upon human instinct? After all, those who get it wrong will pass out of the gene pool soon enough.

Hmm, doesn’t actually sound right really

Fizzy water could be a cause of obesity, according to a new study.

Academics at Birzeit University in the Palestinian West Bank found that rats who were given fizzy drinks including zero-calorie versions put on weight, while those who drank flat liquid did not.

They said that the carbon dioxide in the drinks encouraged the rats to eat on average 20 per cent more.

My own experience is that a belly full of CO2, pre-burping at least, reduces hunger.

Would improve the food if they used it

An antique cookbook from 1793 listing a recipe for curry was discovered by monks, and now budding chefs will have the chance to try the dish at home.
The book, which contains the oldest oldest known recipe for an English curry as well as other Georgian-era recipes, is to be turned into a modern day cookery book.
The unusual book was found in the archives of a Benedictine monastery and painstakingly transcribed.

Yes, of course, Downside.

What fun this is

So, piece at Vox.com about how Trump is eating fast food. When in the past he’s been very strong on refined and healthy food. The reveal of this is of course just that that’s what politicians on the stump do. Of course, there are occasional mishaps like Miliboy being outfought by a bacon sandwich, but basically they chow down on anything and everything, the more local and disgusting it is the better. There wasn’t a piece of offal safe in the entire country when Chirac went campaigning.

OK, super and all entirely true. And the end of the piece:

Considering Trump’s campaign is imploding for a variety of reasons — as diverse as his bragging about sexual assault and soft spot for strongmen who use chemical weapons on their own people — fast food isn’t likely to save him.

Perhaps we should send for some of these? Perhaps a supermarket might like to try?

Tunisian farmers have warned that thousands of tonnes of oranges might have to be destroyed if more buyers cannot be found for the country’s bumper harvest.

According to Mohamed Ali Jandoubi, who heads the Groupement Interprofessionel des Fruits (GIF), an association of citrus fruit growers, farmers have harvested 550,000 tonnes of oranges so far this year.

“Over the past five years we reached a ceiling of 400,000 tonnes. This year we’ve harvested 550,000 tonnes. It’s huge,” said Jandoubi.

The specific varietal they grow is the Maltese blood orange:

It is, however, very tender and rag-free (like a Shamouti), extremely juicy and virtually seedless. The Tunisian Maltaise has outstanding flavour which is regarded by many, including myself, as being the finest quality of any non-navel orange; in France it is spoken of as the ‘Queen of Oranges’. It is very sweet but with adequate acidity and has a particularly delicate flavour which, when combined with it tenderness, seedlessness and high juice content, forms the near ideal desert fruit.

Apparently good and going cheap…..