Friday, 25 January 2008

Knowing my Onions


Little did I know when I posted my ABC picture 2 days ago, that I was ahead of the national news with my story of the anticipated onion shortage :o

The BBC reported on it yesterday, using the same source as I did - Riverford Organics. I've looked into this a bit further and can report there are conflicting views on when the shortage will happen. Riverford have already used up all their UK sourced onions and have switched to supplies from the continent. In fact they're suggesting their customers use other alliums, such as leeks instead. They might even need to use Southern Hemisphere sources as early as March. It doesn't sound good for our carbon footprint, but I can understand that Riverford need to react to their customers' demands - after all, how many of your savoury dishes don't contain at least one onion?

On the other hand, the British Onion Producers' Association (BOPA) doesn't anticipate problems until April/May. I suspect the difference between BOPA and Riverford is because organic sources may have been particularly badly affected by last year's weather. So far, the BBC's newstory doesn't seem to have resulted in the usual panic buying in the High Street (at least if my local supermarket is anything to go by), in spite of the reports that prices may rise by as much as 50%.

Naturally, the story and yesterday's good weather chivvied me into giving my autumn planted onions some TLC. So I took my trusty little onion hoe to the capped soil around them yesterday afternoon, so that they can breathe again. They looked so much better for it. I wonder if I should be providing some extra security too - who knows, onion thieves may strike!

Phil over at Landscape Juice has also picked up on this story, but personally is still enjoying a good crop. He's also asking how's your crop faring?

4 comments:

  1. I am following your onion postings with great interest, as a fellow grower and consumer. I will report on the state of my Japanese onions when, hopefully, I manage to get to the plot over the weekend, health and weather permitting of course.Hmmm-an onion hoe. I don't have one of those. Yet.

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  2. Wow! I can't imagine what we'd do without onions! I don't even think we planted enough to get us through the year...1-2 a week at least!

    Crossing my fingers for you and that your sets remain comfortably in your ground!

    Katie at GardenPunks

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  3. I am kicking myself for not getting my act together and planting onions in the autumn. I dare not think about how many we get through even though there are only the two of us. Some things I can go without but not my onions so I suppose I will just have to pay the higher prices when they arrive. Mmmmmmm - now I wonder who grows onions at my allotment site !

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  4. Hi Threadspider - I think we may be the only 2 growing Japanese onions up on the plots this year?

    My onion hoe's my best hoe - I tend to get carried away with the normal ones and lop off the tops of my crops as well as the weeds. I have more control with the onion version - I think it works particularly well on the 4x10 ft beds on my plot.

    Katie - thanks for your good wishes! Like you, I can't get enough onions, so they're a major crop on my plot.

    Anna - you'll have to speak very nicely to any of your fellow plotholders growing onions at the moment ;) At least you'll know what to do come Springtime!

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