What is the Hungry Gap Conundrum?

We’re at the heart of the hungry gap, about 6 to 8 weeks in the months April to May, when the winter stores of veg are over, hardy roots have had their final hurrah and we don’t have the bounty of our Summer veg.

It’s the toughest time for our farmers, us as a seasonal food business and for you as a seasonal home-cook! There is less choice, but we have to work harder for it. This is what I've termed the “Hungry Gap Conundrum”.

What does the "Hungry Gap Conundrum" (HGC) mean for you?
Well, the bags will feel lighter as the heavier roots are gone and we’ve not got our new season Summer veg through. The quantities will also look less, this is because lighter salad-y items are of higher value. So, instead of a handful of onions, you may get one stir-fry pack. 

You’ll also have to be more inventive in the kitchen, using wild garlic one week for pesto, the next to bake into bread and another chopped up into a lentil curry (this is how I’ve blended wild garlic into my weekly menu the last 3 weeks!). 

We know that in these 6 to 8 weeks you may feel like you aren’t getting as much value for your veg, part of the HGC, and may find yourself eating lots of salads. However, we want to reassure you that you are! And that we are almost through the hungry gap. The promise of courgettes, peppers, tomatoes, sweetcorn and aubergines is near. I can almost see the veg bags coming alive with a rainbow of colours!

What does the HGC mean for us?
It takes the skills of a veg planning extraordinaire in the form of Susan, our veg buyer and all-around go-to ops manager, to pull together a varied and interesting bag of UK only veg from a highly sought after supply. Only the other week we had our asparagus supply swapped to go to a large, online delivery box scheme. Smaller schemes like us fall down the pecking order! 

Supplying you with UK-only veg adds an extra challenge. Many of the large veg box schemes import their veg to fill gaps where they believe their customers cannot live without sweet potatoes, tomatoes or peppers. However, we want to only support UK farmers and a sustainable, local food system and therefore our bags will never look the same as these big players. 

What does the HGC mean for our farmers?
Last week Graham Hughes, our organic farmer in Norfolk, told us "availability is the lowest I can ever recall” and Sarah Green, in Kent said that ”although we have very little to harvest, the field team remain busy as we’re planting, weeding and irrigating our newly planted Summer vegetables.” The HGC strikes again, everyone is working harder, but for less return. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to support our farmers for their hard work throughout the year and stick with them until we’re through the hungry gap! 

Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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