MIDDLE class British shoppers are helping keep Andalucian herb suppliers going through the critical coronavirus lockdown.

Millions of Home Counties home chefs have been dusting off their recipe books seeking out key ingredients such as fresh parsley and coriander.

“This has put a big demand on things,” said British food chief Peter Langdale, 65, the boss of Malaga agricultural firm Horto Palma SL, whose herbs end up in Waitrose and Tesco in the UK and Mercadona in Spain.

The expat of 34 years, originally from Scarborough, employs 150 people, with his firm exporting 99.9% of its produce, with the UK supermarkets its main market.

“We have actually been incredibly busy,” he told the Olive Press. “We have seen no real drop thanks to the foreign demand.

He added: “It’s thanks to the middle class households stuck at home and fed up with what they’ve been cooking… so they get the recipe books out, which all want fresh herbs.”

Cookbook
DEMAND: Modern cookbooks often require fresh herbs, says Peter

And that is good news for the hundreds of busy suppliers working around the clock in southern Spain to provide the demand.

Due to food production being an ‘essential service’ during the state of alarm, Langdale said his crops, including parsley, coriander and leeks, have largely been able to reach the UK as normal.

However, the company’s two garden centres in Malaga and Velez Malaga have been forced to close, with some staff put onto ERTE and others drafted into the food production side.

“When lockdown started there was some panic-buying and then a couple of weeks in there was a hiccup in retail sails, but now they’re back up,” Langdale added.

He added the Spanish farmers were doing a roaring trade, while less than normal was coming out of Italy and Portugal, much to do with the availability of labour.

While he said he considered himself privileged to be able to ‘keep going’, he said the crisis had been a ‘gamechanger for the global economy’.

He said: “Things will never be the same again and when added to Brexit and the rise of populism it’s certainly been tough.”

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