Salad days

Regular readers will know that I like to eat seasonal food, to make the best of what’s grown locally. Admittedly, I’m hardly alone – everyone involved in the UK food industry seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet. The reality, of course, is that many of us still choose to buy what we like, when we like (or what and when the supermarkets dictate!). 

bell pepper

Living out in the country (and in the Garden of England) it’s easy to eat locally grown produce. But if you’re an urban dweller relying on 24/7 convenience stores, you might have far less choice. So when the opportunity comes along, take it. You’ll really “taste the difference”. You’ll also be able to “pocket the difference” because if you shop wisely, British produce is cheaper (for a while at least).


In just a few short weeks the coats will be back on and we’ll be feasting on hearty soups, stews and roasts. But not yet! Salad Week is almost upon us – it’s a time to celebrate the very best of British produce. Right now there’s really no excuse for not buying British – everything from celery to tomatoes is now readily available from these shores. And it really does taste great.


There’s so much to choose from – delicious salad leaves, peppery spring onions, sweet and juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers etc. We’re also picking the first crop of bell peppers, chicory (a great alternative to lettuce) rocket, shallots (use in place of spring onions). We’re also blanching French beans and peas before throwing them into a variety of salads.

freshly dug potatoes

And to really cap it all, Brian’s new potatoes are an absolutely wonderful addition to any cold meal at this time of year. Any that are left over (an unusual occurrence) are chopped up then added to chives and mayo to make a delicious potato salad.


From a photographic perspective, the usual rules apply. I shoot with natural light, late in the day or when there’s some helpful cloud cover to act as a diffuser. I aim to get down low and look for interesting angles and composition. I play with the aperture all the time, experimenting with depth of field. I’m quite often riding the exposure compensation too, just to even out any dark and light spots.

salad days

In the depths of winter I was inside on a gloomy day shooting Spanish tomatoes and cucumbers. Natural light wasn’t an option so I shot with three fluorescent heads. The results are below. The client was happy but there’s clearly an artificial look to these images. Back then I was yearning for the salad days of July and August. Now they’re here I don’t want them to end – I’m certainly not yearning for the casserole days of January and February.


Eat green and clean while you can. The nights are getting longer…

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