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UK food harvest: What's produced in the UK?

James Martin's food map


Location: What's produced there? Why?


Highland cattle:

Highland cattle

Highland cattle live close to the Arctic circle so have adapted to endure the cold. Soils are not very fertile so cattle are adept at foraging for food on mountainous slopes - leaves, grasses and flowers add to the distinct flavour. Grazing on low input forage means they are slow growers which produces very lean and well-marbled meat.


Whisky, raspberries


Whisky: Long cool days help maximise the spring barley crops' grain fill, leading to more alcohol per tonne and an easier malting process. The mountains provide mineral rich spring water used in the mashing process. The east has the perfect temperate climate for whisky maturation.

Raspberries: The summers are dry but not too dry and the long cool evenings allow for a longer ripening process, helping sugars to develop. Raspberries are grown on sheltered south-facing slopes where light and fertile soils provide great conditions for the plants.

West coast



The shape of the west coast and the lochs provide low energy currents, which help create a safe and undisturbed environment of burrowed mud for the langoustines.

The variable temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean caused by a warm sea current from the Caribbean, and the Gulf Stream encourage langoustines activity and breeding.

Northern Ireland

Location: What's produced there? Why?

Inland, Irish Channel

Dexter beef, Irish lobster

Dexter cow

Dexter beef: A mountain breed that are particularly hardy and can survive in any environmental condition, making the beef lean and well-marbled. They readily consume a wide range of grasses (and grass in Ireland has good omega fats), wild herbs and brush, which flavour their meat.

Irish lobster: The cold, clear water of the Irish Channel is perfect for producing lobster.

The narrowness of the channel means a constant tidal flow keeps the water fresh (oxygenated) and but it is not too strong to upset the natural environment of the lobster.


Location: What's produced there? Why?


Welsh lamb


Wales is perfectly suited to sheep and beef farming.

Tough mountain breeds have survived for centuries where high rainfall and freezing winters are common.

Soils that developed on old red sandstone rocks are agriculturally rich which adds to the flavour of their meat.

The changing terrain results in a long Welsh lambing season.


Seaweed, laver, cockles


Seaweed: Temperate waters with a large tidal range create ideal conditions for seaweeds which are found in abundance.

Laver: A seaweed found on rocks, may have been first introduced as a survival food by the Vikings. Laver is boiled down to make laver bread, a traditional Welsh dish with oatmeal.

Cockles: More than 200 living species of cockles, raked from the sands at low tide, and harvested for centuries.


Location: What's produced there? Why?


Rhubarb, heather honey


Rhubarb: The Rhubarb Triangle is situated within the shadows of the Pennines, providing the perfect climate it needs - regular frost and rain to help plants grow and retain the low temperature levels they needs to store energy.

Heather honey: Heather vigorously grows in areas located outside enclosed farmlands extending to the hills, mountainsides and tree-lines of the Yorkshire moors. A wide variety of flora ensures diverse pollen for bees. Heather abounds on the sunny, sandy soils of the scrubland.


Peas, pork


Peas: A flat even landscape with highly fertile soil allows the pea fields to grow evenly and for peapods to mature and ripen at the same rate. Peas like a cool climate and a cooling sea breeze prevents them from shrivelling and enhances flavour. The dry climate is also believed to be essential for the best colour, flavour and texture.

Pork: Poor grade sandy soils are well suited to rearing pigs outdoors. The light soils help pigs to easily root around on the land.

In return they provide much needed nitrate to the soil, making it possible to cultivate crops on it every two or three years.

Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds

Rapeseed, salmon


Rapeseed: Rich dark heavy clay soils are perfect for growing wheat and oilseed rape because clay soils retain high levels of both water and nutrients. Sunshine is claimed to have a big impact on the quality and the flavour of the end product.

Salmon: The River Severn is a haven for salmon, with good access to the sea, fast shallow upper reaches, large catchment area and safe shallows for juveniles to hunt and grow in.

The South East and Kent



A dry climate is essential and rains from the West tend to peter out by the time they reach Kent. Variable cool temperatures combined with long summer evenings allow the sugars to develop slowly.

The South East and Mid Kent soils retain nutrients and water whilst allowing drainage, and cherries like calcareous soil, with preferably the chalk layer at no great distance below.


Dover sole

Dover sole

With a preference for shallow water and sandy muddy beds on the bottom, Dover sole thrive off the coast of East Sussex, owing to the soft sedimentary rocks which have collapsed and spread into the shores over thousands of years.

Nearby warmer waters to the west of Beachy Head to the Isle of Wight are a Dover sole spawning ground. Nursery areas are also close inshore with the fish spending the first few months of their life in very shallow waters.




Approximately 20% of Hampshire's land is woodland habitat where truffles are found. The truffle does not carry out photosynthesis, but gets its energy from a symbiotic life connected to trees.

A lot of Hampshire's woods are still managed through pollarding and coppicing which allows lots of light in, which the truffles love, as well as well-drained and chalky soils.

Isle of Wight



The Isle of Wight is sunnier than most parts of the UK and western Europe, with typically 1,800-2,100 hours of sunshine a year. Sunlight increases tomato yields, rather than warm temperatures.

The Isle of Wight has a milder sub-climate which means it has a longer growing season than other areas in the UK. Long cool summers are best for slow ripening and flavour.




Tea plants grow best with even temperatures all year round and Cornwall has a temperate oceanic climate boasting the mildest and sunniest climate in the UK as a result of its southerly latitude and the influence of the Gulf Stream.

Tea needs an acidic soil (pH 4.5-7) and always needs to be in lime-free conditions.


Clotted cream

Clotted cream

Rolling valleys and lush pasture have developed from the temperate climate, frequent rains, and the fertile soils that have formed over red Devonshire rock.

An especially temperate climate extends the grass growing season and the rich vegetation means that cows produce milk with the highest percentage butterfat content in England and Wales (an average 4.33% compared with 4.1%).

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