Harvest 2013

Ep 1/3

Wednesday 11 September



Right across our countryside it's Harvest Time and Gregg Wallace and Philippa Forrester are down on the farm revealing the results of this year's harvest as it comes in.

This is the spectacular climax of the farming year, when fortunes are won or lost in the attempt to put food on our plates. Our farmers have spent all year carefully tending their crops helped by the very latest science, but they are still completely at the mercy of our fickle weather. Can they put a disastrous 2012, the coldest spring for 50 years and a scorching July behind them and work their magic to bring in a bumper crop?

In the first episode we visit the fertile fenland of Lincolnshire, the vegetable capital of Britain. Gregg Wallace, a former greengrocer, and Philippa Forrester, science expert and home grower, join farmer Andrew Burgess at the start of the main potato harvest to see the struggle to grow, and gather in potatoes - still our favourite vegetable.

They discover how the massive potato harvesters must treat them as delicately as eggs otherwise bruises will ruin the crop. Gregg and Philippa also experience how broccoli is picked and packed in minutes using the amazing broccoli 'Field Factory' - the only one of its kind in Britain.

Food fanatic Stefan Gates explains some of the incredible science behind food production, in Kent Philippa explores Britain's biggest greenhouse where tomatoes can be harvested year round, and in Scotland Gregg reveals a revolutionary new approach to growing baby veg.

For the first time on TV, the series will reveal an early Harvest report for the UK, which will give an indication of which crops are likely to be the winners and losers in 2013. Have potatoes managed to recover from the washout of 2012 when the crop was down by a third and prices spiralled. How did the cold spring have a surprising impact on our broccoli supply, and what has the record heat wave done to sales of salad? Harvest 2013 tells the story of food through the high and lows of a remarkable year of weather.

Harvest 2013 is supported by BBC Learning who have produced a booklet to explain the science behind producing UK crops, together with recipes from Gregg Wallace using harvest produce.

The booklet will be available online at bbc.co.uk/harvest.