The above is in Spain; in St Augustin, near Almeria to be precise.
They are greenhouses covering an area estimated to be about 40,000 hectares; the biggest area of such 'agriculture' in the world.
The plants grow in an artificial substrate of sand covered in black plastic, and the water supply comes from wherever it can be found; often by drilling deep underground. Many of the workers are illegal immigrants, and the huge resulting crops are exported throughout Europe, and beyond.
A few years back I made the silly mistake of buying an out-of-season bunch of green Asparagus grown in this area, and it was totally tasteless. Shops and markets are full of produce grown under these artificial conditions, and they should be avoided.
I am well aware that Spain relies heavily on the export of fruit and vegs, but I must say that I look very carefully at the origin of any such things that I might buy, and if it says 'Almeria' on the box, I leave well alone.
Buying 'seasonal' may not be easy, but it's worth making as much effort as is practical. Strawberries from Almeria for Christmas may sound like a pleasant idea, but you'd be sorely disappointed.
Soon your Haddocks will be producing delicious veggies and fruits for you!ReplyDelete
I hate imported out of season produce--it's tasteless and not worth the $$$.
I'm so ready for summer!
Me too Jennifer; like most winters, this one's been far too long.Delete
Our out-of-season produce usually comes from the U.S. of A. or Australia. I always buy as close to home as possible and always in season.ReplyDelete
It is sad that so many young people do not seem to have any idea of what is in season and what is not.
.... or even care!Delete
I am only wired to buy seasonal.ReplyDelete
Then you are wired correctly!Delete
The supermarkets are to blame, and those TV Chefs who extol the "virtues" of using fruit and veg out of season.ReplyDelete
I remember when home deep freezing became the "in" thing, in the 70's, and one of the "advantages" was strawberries at Christmas. They were dished up by almost anyone who had a freezer and were
I think everyone is to blame, even the people who buy such stuff. The Asparagus I mentioned above was so tasteless that on a blind tasting I could almost have said anything!Delete
Unfortunately a harassed housewife shopping in a hurry, may not have time to read the country of origin on everything she buys.Delete
You are fortunate Cro, that you have the time, and the land, to grow what you like. Not many people have the same advantages - or the same interest. I doubt most people even bother where their food comes from, as long as it's there, ready packed, on the supermarket shelves. Recently I bought asparagus from Egypt and that too was tasteless, so I think it's the method of growing, rather than the country of origin, which is at fault.
We also buy seasonal and as near to home as possible, if not available then we do without. I will certainly remembers the name Almeria. Beautiful sun shinning here today. I hope you and Lady M are both back in good health again. Greetings Maria xReplyDelete
Both a tiny bit better today, thanks Maria. In fact I'm just off to do some essential shopping; I haven't been away from home for almost 2 weeks.Delete
Those greenhouses have started to appear on the Devon landscape to extend the season. There's not that many of them but they're ugly nonetheless. I'm guilty of buying out of season stuff so admit to being part of the problem. Another thing to think of in a very complex world. The ethical/environmental decisions that we have to make seem endless.ReplyDelete
I believe Essex has the world's biggest greenhouse system devoted to tomatoes. All tasteless, of course.Delete
Wissington beet factory in Norfolk has it. It uses the steam redirected from the sugar processing to heat the greenhouses for the tomatoes.Delete
Blimey - I didn't realise how intensive it was. Now I know why Spanish greens are stocked all year-round in Waitrose.ReplyDelete
Huge, isn't it.Delete
Horrible. I imagine they have pans for the surface of Mars which are similar.Delete
Those greenhouses are scary and a blot on the landscape. I try to grow as many of my own veggies as I can but I do have to supplement from the supermarket at times.ReplyDelete
I'm excited that I will be able to harvest my own asparagus crop next season (you have to let them grow for a couple of years, first). Gippsland (where I live) supplies 90% of Australia's asparagus so we are a bit spoiled with freshness and taste. BUT I have seen asparagus from Peru (out of season) in the supermarkets. Dreadful!
One of my neighbours used to grow Asparagus, and I used to be given all the wonky ones. Unfortunately he no longer grows it.Delete
Much of it is down to the economy of the countries concerned - and there must be a ready market for all this fruit and veg out of season. Perhaps we are wrong to criticise, and deny people the right to a living? Don't forget, too, that the medical profession insist that we have five or seven fruit, or veg, or whatever, every day. Most northern climates wouldn't be able to grow enough to cater for the demand - if they grow anything at all.ReplyDelete
I'm not criticising them for growing this way, I'm just criticising the eventual poor taste. Otherwise I'm sure they serve an important purpose.Delete
I wonder why, when grown on such scale, fruit and veg inevitably lose all their flavour?Delete
Years ago, in most Med countries, you could buy the most wonderful, but oddly shaped fruit and veg - it had such flavour. Is loss of flavour yet another EU ruling, along with regulation shapes?
When grown outdoors in natural sunshine, fruit and vegetables develop their proper flavours; when grown artificially, they don't.Delete
Thanks for the warning, and will avoid veg grown in that area, although I tend not to buy out of season now we have a larder full of our own produce, so there is something to be said for growing your own!ReplyDelete
There certainly is, although I do think there's an awful lot of rubbish talked about 'home grown'.Delete
When I first saw the photograph, I thought I was seeing some huge expanse of paving stones, some sort of conceptual art installation.ReplyDelete
Almeria is a name to remember.
For totally different reasons, so is Amy. Thank you for posting the video and lyrics.
I was quite shocked when I saw the photo; it's just so different to how I go about growing!!Delete
Unbelievable. We get much produce from Mexico and central and south America. Flowers too. It's a global economy.ReplyDelete
Food air-miles are a disgrace. But I suppose everyone needs an income.Delete
I shall now bear that in mind after reading this Cro. I did buy some stringless beans from Morocco the other day, just to vary the vegetables a bit. Not only were they stringless but they were also completely tasteless.ReplyDelete
Geez! I thought it was solar panels at first. Of course the produce has no taste; it has no soil or air.ReplyDelete
Having lived in New Zealand where most foods are seasonal (although Iexpect Auckland and Wellington have a greater imported choice) I agree with you. However the reality of feeding the expectations of so many (in Britain anyway) will always make Almeria 'necessary'. I try now to eat as seasonally as possible but it isn't that easy.ReplyDelete