>Chemical strawberries

>Yesterday I discovered a blog – La Vie Verte – with a horrifying post and video link about the chemical industry and pollution in Huelva in southern Spain.

I havent seen many locally grown strawberries in the markets and shops yet. It will be a couple of weeks before the stalls are piled up with punnets and crates of the delicious garriguettes. Strawberries from Spain have started appearing. Theyre not very tasty at this time of year, but a couple of weeks ago I gave in and bought some to stew with sugar and eat with icecream. This morning they were there again, with their origin marked as Huelva, España, but I wasnt tempted. I shant be buying anything grown in Huelva again!

Bay trees grow like weeds in our garden. We have one we planted, but also several others which have just established themselves in uncultivated bits of ground. A favourite way of using them weve discovered is to thread them onto skewers with quartered onions, brush with olive oil and barbecue them. The bay flavour seems to go particularly well with onion. Well be doing this a lot over the coming weeks as the weather gets better and well be eating in the garden more and more.

There were good things on the market stalls as well as the polluted strawberries this morning. We bought some very good mackerel and some local asparagus. We ate the asparagus with a stir-fry of slices of entrecôte steak and spring onions (in the pan for just a few minutes as both were very tender), deglazed with Banyuls vinegar. Banyuls is the naturally sweet wine which comes from around Banyuls and Collioure, south of Perpignan.

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