Sunday People

A few sandwiches short of a picnic


This week, I have mostly been eating cucumbers. I popped to my local market on Monday and a stall holder was selling eight for a quid, or 12.5p each.

And, as I can’t resist a bargain, I got three bags and started experiment­ing. So, far I’ve had Greek salad, tzatziki and cucumber raita.

I’ve also pickled some, made healthy salt and vinegar “crisps” (disgusting) and knocked up a chilled cucumber soup, which tasted like a face pack.

But my favourite way of eating cucumber is still thinly sliced in a red Leicester cheese sandwich made with processed white bread.

Although that rather negates my salad savings, as cutting a basic cheese butty at home will now set you back 40p.

And with food inflation at a 45-year high of 19.1%, many hard-up families are finding their picnic planning is seriously hampered.

But why should we expect such extravagan­t mealtimes anyway? Families do not have a “right” to cheap food, according to one former Tory Minister. Ann “Marie Antoinette” Widdecome reckons if you can’t afford bread and cheese: “Well, then, you don’t do the cheese sandwich.”

You could stick to beans on toast, of course. And as Tory MP Brendan Clarkesmit­h helpfully explained, “if a Heinz tin has gone up by 50% or whatever, well, buy the Tesco Value one”. Genius! Outof-touch politician­s have no idea how ordinary people are struggling to feed their families.

And British food producers say the Government is not protecting their interests either. In the Lea Valley it costs salad farmers 30p to produce a cucumber. But European growers are overproduc­ing, to make up for the bad weather in February, and selling theirs to UK wholesaler­s for 16p or less.

Greedy supermarke­ts then flog the foreign imports for 79p each while 30% of the Lea Valley harvest gets dumped every day. Others end up on cut-price market stalls – and in my kitchen.

And while I’m selfishly gratified to nab a bargain, I agree with Lea Valley Growers Associatio­n spokesman Lee Stiles that this “seems like madness”.

Why isn’t the Government protecting domestic growers and sorting out the chaotic UK food system? This week, Rishi Sunak hosted a “farm to fork” summit at No10 for farmers and supermarke­t bosses. But attendees said that there had been no discussion of soaring food prices or agricultur­e subsidies.

Instead, the PM seemed far more interested in posing for Instagram shots with Clarkson’s Farm star Kaleb Cooper.

Food inflation is out of control and families can no longer afford the basics.

So the Government must take its cues from the experts. And get a forking grip.

System has to be sorted out and UK growers protected

 ?? ?? MOVING Rob carried over marathon’s finish line by his pal Kevin
MOVING Rob carried over marathon’s finish line by his pal Kevin
 ?? PM with Kaleb ?? MAKING A MEAL OF IT

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