Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Frosts at the weekend cause more misery for farmers

As I said yesterday, it was cold at the weekend and it was dry as well – a lethal combination for the remainder of the artichokes that were not affected by the last frosts. Low temperatures freeze the water in the vegetables leaving them looking as if they have been burnt. It is the same for beans and other crops like lettuces, spinach and chard. The only crop which survives these cold spells is the broccoli where growth is just slowed down. Crops grown in low lying areas are more vulnerable than those grown on high ground because the cold air settles there.

Farmers will need to check how far the damage has spread into the heads of the artichokes. With a blackened exterior they will not be saleable at market and certainly cannot be exported but might be OK for canning if the insides are not affected.

These problems for farmers only add to the misery caused by robberies. The farmers union now suspects that the thefts must be made by organised gangs because in some cases they are stealing the Provence Violet variety of artichoke which is not sold in Spain. These would have to exported to France for sale indicating that this is not the work of amateurs.

The weather continues to be cold but at the same time moist so the danger to further crops is a lot lower.

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