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Norfolk’s newest passion is unusual veg


Who knew that the roots of this beauty were a delicacy?

Those city folk from outside our beloved Norfolk can often be heard making jokes about us “carrot crunchers” when they pop up here to visit their weekend homes or live the rural dream. However, what they probably don’t realise is that if it weren’t for the farmers of Norfolk, their plates would be pretty dull, empty affairs when they get back to their posh restaurants in the big smoke!

Norfolk has always been foodie heaven to those of us in the know (if you’ve never tasted asparagus from Rollesby or carrots from Wells or sausages from Norwich Market’s finest, well, you haven’t lived) but now that word’s getting out about how well the county caters for the country’s kitchens, local farmers are upping their game and getting in on the trendy veg action with all sorts of unusual crops.

Unusual veg requires imaginative packing

Here’s a list of odd things we’ve been asked to find packaging for in the last year or so – and yes, there was a bag, a sack, a box, a punnet or a net for every last one!

1.Heritage tomatoes

OK, they’re not so unusual any more, but foodies like Hemsley & Hemsley ooh and aah about them online and so demand grows! We’ve bagged and punnetted black ones, yellow ones, green ones, lemon-shaped ones and red ones in every size and shape.

2. Pumpkins & squashes

Again, not so unusual any more, but your choice is no longer limited to a big orange carving pumpkin or a butternut. From gigantic pallet boxes for the Halloween variety to veg trays for the infinite variety of smaller squashes, we’ve always got something for growers to put them (pumpk)in.

3. Romanesco

As the name might suggest, this is actually as old as the hills, being enjoyed for centuries on the continent and through the Roman Empire! It’s unusual angled shape means it looks great on plates.

4. Cucamelons

These were new to us when a customer asked for a tray to put them in. Apparently they are a fruit around the size of a grape, that taste like cucumber. In Central America they are named sandiita, or little watermelons – which is exactly what they look like.

5. Dahlia yams

They might be your nan’s favourite flower, but did you know that dahlias were first introduced to the UK as a promising new type of root vegetable? The roots provide a sweet potato-like vegetable, which was a favourite with the Aztecs, and seems to be impressing foodies buying their produce from Norfolk too.

6. Edible flowers

The prettiest of the county’s new edible crops are edible flowers such as lavender, primroses and geraniums, as well as rarer treats like butterfly sorrel. It’s hard to argue with a pretty sugared violet on top of a cake, but a quick poll around J&C HQ suggests that nasturtiums in your caesar salad might be a bit much for most. Palates must be a little more sophisticated in the posh restaurants who are going wild for locally grown flora.

Of course we are pleased to report that we managed to get all these unusual items packed perfectly to make their way to customers all over the UK. So, if you have an odd shaped, rare, unusual or even just awkward fruit or vegetable to box or bag, give us a call on 01603 722264. We’ve never been stumped yet!


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