We're Going to Need to Relearn Ancient Harvesting Skills

By Gary Cutlack on at

The government's issued a slightly conflicting message about us all having to head outside, into the fields, and all at once soon, otherwise the country will run out of raspberries to boil up into jam to line the bases of the cherry bakewells when the summer fruit picking season comes.

The problem is that the influx of seasonal workers that usually do this work – which we were expecting to perhaps slow a little due to Brexit – has been stopped entirely dead by coronavirus travel restrictions, meaning if we want the UK-grown soft fruits that are currently budding up right now we'll have to tackle the thorny issue of jobs that much of the population currently considers beneath it. Environment minister George Eustice got a little wartime in his language when appealing for us to do some dirty work, an easy mistake to make right now, and said we must "mobilise the British workforce" in the farming industries once more, like we're all suddenly that kind red haired lady who's always pretending it's the 1940s on Channel 4.

Maybe after (no fewer than) three weeks stuck inside we'll be so desperate to get out again by the summer that even minimum wage fruit picking will seem like a heavenly exercise. We may even lick the juice off our fingers at the end of a 12-hour shift in the beating sun and be glad to be anywhere other than a football stadium that's been turned into a hospital, enjoying air that doesn't smell of plastic tubing. [Reuters]