Put down your spiralizer, courgettes -- that's zucchini to you and I -- are in short supply across the U.K.
Actually it's not just a result of the clean-eating craze. Several bouts of extra cold weather in southern Europe this winter have caused serious damage to zucchini output. Most zucchini sold in the U.K. are grown in Spain and Italy, and vegetable farmers in both countries aren't faring well under the less-than-ideal conditions. Not only are there few zucchini but wholesale prices have more than tripled for those that have made to the Brits. In fact, Jordi Vorderman, the UK sales manager for wholesaler Valstar Holland, told The Guardian that some have nearly quadrupled since the summer of 2016. "The cold affects courgettes a lot," he explained.
As if the thought of a zucchini shortage isn't enough to bring a tear to your eye, there are visual reminders of just how bad this has gotten, too. On Twitter, people are posting photos of sad-looking, zucchini-less produce aisles -- they've even taken to hashtagging them with #CourgetteCrisis.
Okay, fine you might think. So there's not a lot of zucchini to go around. Big deal! After all, doesn't everyone know you can spiralizer other veggies too? Unfortunately, the weather seems to have nearly halted or seriously slowed production of other vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cabbage. One grower in Spain reported losing up to 5 million heads of lettuce.
What could you do if you're affected by this shortage? And could it happen here?
Yes and no, weather can impact the U.S. zucchini crop. If California was hit, we would have less zucchini but this favorite summer squash is grown in many areas around the country -- as well as in many backyards. We're big advocates of eating seasonally -- that means focusing on zucchini in the summer when they are in season. And the best way to eat with the seasons is to head to your local farmer's market to shop -- and support your local farming community at the same time. It's tough in the winter when root vegetables dominate but there might even be some fun extras to taste, like doughnuts and homemade jam.
And if you aren't one of the unlucky Brits plagued by the courgette shortage, well ... rejoice! Maybe celebrate with one of our favorite zucchini and summer squash recipes for dinner tonight.