THE WORD ON THE GROUND: Start of new season lettuce planting

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THAT very cold weather throughout Europe reached right down into the winter salad producing areas of Spain (Murcia), which is now severely disrupting supplies. Extra work and burning the midnight oil will hopefully get us through; one has to remember a lead time to delivery of some six to seven days. That weather also reached Tunisia, North Africa, where they had snow! It is surprising how winter-hardy some types of lettuce are as long as the crops don’t experience dramatic temperature changes over a short period of time.

The diversity of matters to deal with never ceases to amaze me. Over the last 14 days they have covered, new micro-biological EU legislation, water and drought issues, producer organisation (cooperatives) strategy documents, our own farm budgets and our marketing team discussions with customers about crop volumes and setting prices, to name but a few – it certainly keeps my old brain cells active!

We have completed all our planning for the new season and started planting on February 23 with temperatures in spring time mode at the low 60s, but for how long I wonder? What will this season hold for us with low rainfall through the winter, although our reservoirs are all full?

We have key events this summer which we hope will boost demand: the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics and our crop association with the EU promotion funding and grower money, a promotion campaign which will run for three years. It’s all positive stuff but still the icing on the cake would be a lovely hot summer, I wish!