What’s that peculiar lump in the fruit patch?

I pottered off down to the allotment this morning and was suprised to discover a peculiar lump had appeared in the fruit patch. Whatever it was it was feisty! Not even the tonnes of woodchip I had enthusiastically spread about the place could keep it down.

“Oh dear” Thought I . In my haste had I buried a small mammal….a child perhaps..tempting but no I remember seeing  them all this morning. So what was causing these unsightly pustules? Secateurs at the ready I took a closer look.

Of course, I should have guessed it….rhubarb….it’s always rhubarb. This stuff grows like Billy Oh and, if truth be known, I’m really not sure I like it. I have a similar problem with broad beans, I feel I should embrace them but I just can’t stand them.”But what about the young tender ones, freshly picked and drizzled with butter” I hear you bean fanatics cry. No, I have neither the time nor the inclination to sit around, fingers burning, trying to squeeze hot beans out of their skins.

Some of the best rhubarb comes from Wakefield, Yorkshire and, last weekend, the town celebrated its annual rhubarb festival. Cookery demonstrations, tasting sessions, market stalls and street entertainment put the focus firmly on all things rhubarb. These festivities are a fantastic way of honouring the growers who are dedicated to producing the best crop, so good in fact that Yorkshire forced rhubarb has now been elevated to the same status as Champagne and Parma ham.

Now my rhubarb has been freed it actually looks quite tasty. The enforced darkness has produced slender pink stems, a far cry from the thick tart ones I usually endure.  I have shoved an old black bin back over the plant and, hopefully, in a couple of weeks I will be enjoying sweet, tasty stems cooked in a crumble and smothered in fresh custard.Mmmmmm.


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