Is Britain changing its eating habits and adopting a new kind of diet, where the sale of olives and figs are becoming a familiar sight, as gardeners increasingly try to emulate a Mediterranean lifestyle?
Figures show that the trend is gaining accessibility as higher demand for foods traditionally eaten in Italy, Spain and Greece, are now common in the market place and no longer a rarity.
Gardening experts say the change to rainier and milder winters may even be helping the trees and vines to thrive. Many gardeners are choosing olive and fig trees in preference to traditional fruit trees, opting for more modern-looking outdoor spaces than the country cottage garden look.
According to Homebase, sales of fig trees and grapevines have risen to twenty-eight per cent in the past six months compared with the same period last year and olive tree sales are up twenty-five per cent year-on-year. Andrew Dyer of Homebase said: ‘We have seen a trend towards more exotic fruit growing, such as olives, figs and grapes. An increasing number of people are holidaying in Europe and choosing a Mediterranean diet, and they now want to have a go at growing their own. Growers have had a lot of success with tasty olives, figs and grapes as fresh as they can possibly be because they have not been on a plane before ending up on the dinner plate.’
It is a welcome change that we now realise the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet likely to prolong our life and moreover considered by most to be a culinary bonus. I, for one, have always been a great believer in olive oil which I consume on a daily basis and can’t live without.
And as for figs and grapes, no one in his or her right mind would scoff at their delicious nature.