'Wonky' parsnip harvest hit by cold weather

Misshapen parsnip The parsnips are deemed to be too ugly for the supermarket shelves

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About four tonnes of misshapen parsnips deemed "too ugly" for supermarkets will not be harvested this weekend because of forecast snow.

The vegetables, described as "wonky and oversized", were to be donated to food charities in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire by Tattersett Farm near King's Lynn.

The mutant parsnips failed to meet required commercial standards after they were hit by heavy rain last year.

Charity Gleaning Network UK called off the harvest because of expected snow.

Its members "rescue" fruit and vegetables from farms across the UK, which would otherwise go to waste, and redistribute the food to other charities.

'Try again'

Scott Hammond, Tattersett Farm manager, said: "The charity got in touch and asked if we had anything spare, and we did.

"Some of our parsnips were hit by very wet weather during germination, followed by dry weather later in the year. As a result, the ones that survived are oversized and look a bit like miniature sugar beet.

"We're happy to give them away because otherwise they'd just be chopped up and ploughed back in."

Gleaning Network's Martin Bowman had been expecting to lead a group of volunteer parsnip harvesters to Norfolk at the weekend to collect the vegetables from the fields.

"People were coming from all over the place, but there's heavy snow forecast for the East so getting the veg out and transporting them away just wouldn't be possible.

"We'll try again when the ground thaws, though."

Mr Bowman said he was keen to hear from charities in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire who thought they might be able to use "about 100kg of parsnips each", when they are eventually harvested.

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