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Veggie Theme

To mark National Vegetarian Week, Countryfile takes a look at all things veggie, including the threats facing vegetable producers.

From carrots to cauliflower, peas to parsnips we are a nation of vegetable lovers. To mark National Vegetarian Week, Countryfile is taking a look at all things veggie. Matt Baker is at the heart of the Jersey Royal Potato Harvest. Ellie Harrison gets artistic with her vegetables to create a landscape photograph with a difference. Naomi Wilkinson tastes the delights of Indian vegetarian cooking. Champion free runner and vegan Tim Shieff goes head to head with sheep farmer Gareth Wyn Jones to debate the pros and cons of veganism. Adam Henson looks into the future of farming when he visits an urban farm built in tunnels 33 metres below the streets of London. And Tom Heap investigates the threats facing our vegetable producers and finds out why many feel that the days of British veg are numbered.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 30 May 2016 00:50

Jersey Royal Potatoes

Jersey Royal Potatoes

Jersey’s connection with the humble potato goes back centuries. Matt Baker is visiting the island as its annual potato harvest is in full swing. He discovers the history of the island’s ties with the potato while digging up this year’s earliest crop of Jersey Royals with farmers Christine and Didier Hellio. He learns just how important the spud still is to island life during the annual potato growing competition at St.Lawrence School. Back with Christine and Didier, Matt reveals the scale of the potato harvest as he follows the crop through to the multi-million pound packing plant.

More information, recipes, and history of Jersey Royals 

Freerunning vegan vs Welsh hill farmer

Freerunning vegan vs Welsh hill farmer

As we celebrate our great British veg crop, we ask whether we even need to consume meat or animal products at all in the UK. Vegan freerunner Tim Shieff argues that the cost to life of meat production isn’t worth the benefits. Welsh hill farmer and lamb producer Gareth Wyn Jones is fighting back, saying that his method of farming is the most sustainable possible and that it is vital to protect our environment and landscape.

Discover more about a vegan lifestyle

The Living Wage

The Living Wage

Tom Heap investigates why UK fruit and veg producers are worried the National Living Wage may put them out of business. Tom meets Becky Worne, a veg picker, for whom the living wage makes a huge difference. But Becky’s boss, Peter Thompson, though he supports the living wage, says his business just cannot afford it and is worried he may have to move production abroad to remain profitable. Would we pay more for our fruit and veg to support British horticulture?

Find out more about the National Living Wage

Growing underground

Growing underground

Adam Henson looks into the future of farming and visits an urban farm built in tunnels deep below the streets of London.

Underneath Clapham High Street, the tunnels were originally built during World War II to protect families from the bombs that caused havoc on the streets above.  This air-raid shelter had the capacity to accommodate 8,000 people, but is now being used to farm a range of salad and herbs. The state-of-the-art system uses the latest LED lighting technology and hydroponics to replicate ideal growing conditions. With the city above, it’s close to the consumer and with a growing population could it be the future of food production? 

Vegetarianism and Hindu culture

Vegetarianism and Hindu culture

Vegetarianism is considered by many to be a modern phenomenon, but Hinduism holds it at the centre of the religion, with thousands of years of history. In the heart of Yorkshire, family run, South Indian restaurant Prashad has a strong ethos when it comes to using local, seasonal produce. Naomi Wilkinson and chef, Minal Patel visit Yorkshire’s famous rhubarb triangle to pick some fresh rhubarb that they take back to the kitchens at Prashad, where they cook up a variety of dishes, including a sizzling starter for Naomi.


Discover more Indian vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes here

Rhubarb Sizzler recipe

Rhubarb Sizzler recipe

Fresh Masala

4 -5 Kenyan green chillies, trimmed but not de-seeded

5 -6 Garlic cloves, soaked and peeled


250g Sorghum flour, sieved

50g gram (chickpea) flour, sieved

600g Rhubarb, chopped and then coarsely blended

50ml sunflower oil

3 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp ground cumin powder

½ tsp asafoetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

4 ½ tsp sugar

1½ tsp salt

1 handful fresh coriander, washed and finely chopped

50ml water

Fresh Masala

Crush the chillies and garlic together with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar (or a blender), to make a fine masala paste


Mix both the sieved flours together well in a large deep bowl. Tip in the coarsely blended rhubarb along with any juice it has released. Now add the fresh masala paste and all the remaining dough ingredients apart from the water. Mix all the ingredients together, take your time and make sure all the spices are mixed through. Gradually add water little by little until you have a sticky dough - you need to be able to shape the mixture, so don’t add too much water or the dough won’t hold its form. 50ml should be perfect but this may vary slightly, as different batches of flour vary in absorption rate.

Oil the base of your hands and take a small handful of dough and gently form into a small ball and squeeze to flatten slightly, leave on a tray and repeat until all the dough is used up.

Heat ribbed griddle on medium heat and add 45ml oil to the pan, gently lay as many of the dough balls as you can fit and shallow fry with lid until crisp and golden (approx. 5 mins) turn them over and repeat.

Once cooked serve them on a bed of fresh onions, ideally on a red hot griddle with rocket, sprinkle some lemon juice to add the sizzle.

Vegetable art

Vegetable art
Ellie Harrison meets vegetable artist Carl Warner to discuss how he turns a view into a work of art with broccoli trees, carrot spires and turnip hills. With a photograph sent over by Matt from Jersey, Ellie works with Carl in his studio to create their own potato rich landscape.


Role Contributor
Presenter Matt Baker
Presenter Ellie Harrison
Presenter Naomi Wilkinson
Presenter Adam Henson
Presenter Tom Heap
Executive Producer William Lyons
Series Producer Joanna Brame