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Embrace Brexit by growing your own veg in 2019

PUBLISHED: 23:20 30 December 2018 | UPDATED: 23:20 30 December 2018

Rhubarb used to be the first fresh fruit of the year - but now, like most fruit and vegetables, it's available all year round

Rhubarb used to be the first fresh fruit of the year - but now, like most fruit and vegetables, it's available all year round

Nadezhda_Nesterova

There don't seem to be many positives as far as Brexit is concerned - well, maybe it'll make us all think about growing our own food

Planning your New Year Resolutions? How about learning to love rhubarb and growing your own veg…

I bet sometime over Christmas you ate strawberries or raspberries, lettuce or tomatoes. Why not? Ever since refrigerated lorries started trundling in from Spain, France and the Netherlands back in the 1960s, we’ve taken them all for granted all year round.

Not after Brexit, we won’t. Apparently, whatever happens, it’s going to lead to all sorts of chaos and delays at ports until we sort ourselves out.

(Even the former Brexit Minister, Dominic Raab had a lightbulb moment when this finally dawned on him. Had he really not realised we live on an island?)

So it’s back to swedes, leeks and wrinkled apples. Oh joy.

Our grandparents raved over rhubarb because after a long winter it was the first fresh fruit of the year. No Christmas strawberries or peaches for them, just endless variations on dried fruit and what could be preserved bottled or stored, which was pretty much used up by spring.

In any case, it’s not always easy to love a prune.

After a long winter with only oranges and tangerines full of pips as a treat, no wonder they rushed out with buckets to force those first deliciously pink stems of young rhubarb.

The other bonus was the delight of the very first new potatoes, currants or strawberries, which always tasted amazing.

Since those olden days, British growers have upped their game and growing seasons stretch into much of the year. Rhubarb has fallen out of favour.

But we still rely on Europe for 40pc of our fruit and veg.

We get plenty from the rest of the world too, including flying green beans all the way from Africa. There seem to be something just plain wrong about that for all sorts of reasons.

There’s definitely something wrong about those huge, disgusting woody strawberries from the USA. What a waste of fuel they are.

In any case, a strawberry was never meant to trundle halfway across the world in the cold. Unnatural.

Those so-called “new” potatoes are often a year old. No wonder they taste nothing like those potatoes from my grandad’s garden.

Anyway, what with inevitable customs delays and chiller storage at the ports all booked up, maybe it’s time to dig for victory again. Ditch the decking and have a little veggie patch, peppers on the patio, cucumbers in the conservatory, tomatoes on the window sill and rhubarb in a bucket out the back.

Brexit could make gardeners of us all.

As always, on Christmas Day the grandchildren were overwhelmed with enough 
dolls, trains, toys and gadgets to stock a shop. As always, they ignored the lot.

Instead, the hit of the day were some 50p Father Christmas drinking straws that said “Ho ho ho!” when they drank from them – but, more importantly, also made a very satisfying rude noise. Heaven. Children – and parents – spent the day drinking noisily and collapsing into hysterical giggles.

So much for a quiet, sophisticated Christmas…

Now the chocs and ginger have all been demolished, the mince pies are crumbs, the turkey’s curry and only the uncrackable nuts lurk in the bottom of the bowl. There’s a dark gap on the tree where one lot of lights has failed and the cards are drifting off the picture frames.

Just one more day and night of festive merriment and we can start getting back to normal life again. It’ll be quite nice really, won’t it? Maybe, after all, we weren’t designed for constant partying. It’s enough to make you almost long for a lettuce leaf.

Especially as all my clothes seem suddenly to have shrunk…

In the meantime, many thanks for all your letters, cards and emails throughout the year. It’s always great to hear from you.

Whatever happens, 2019 is certainly going to be interesting. Hmmm…. But I hope it’s also happy, healthy and enjoyable for you all. Who knows? It might even be fun.

Happy New Year!

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