As a company we love to work with local producers. With the Yorkshire forced rhubarb season upon us we took the opportunity to visit our local producer.
At John Westwood’s rhubarb farms in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the picking process is as enchanting as the fruit itself. Under cover of darkness, John leads his group of pickers to his rhubarb sheds, each carrying a single candle held aloft on a stake.
The candles do more than guide the pickers’ path. Once inside the dark sheds, where the rhubarb is kept at a temperature of 13C, the naked flames perform a clever trick. Each stalk of rhubarb, after two weeks in the pitch black environment, is desperate to glimpse even the faintest spot of light. On the promise of candlelight, the stalks force their way up out of their earthy nest.
Forced rhubarb is grown in Yorkshire’s world-famous rhubarb triangle, an area between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield which once produced 90% of the world’s rhubarb.