Win some, lose some: Wales celebrates a stunning victory – for its farmers | Vegetables

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Name: Welsh leeks.

Age: Wales and leeks have had a connection for hundreds of years. In Shakespeare’s Henry V, the King tells Fluellen that he is wearing a leek “for I am Welsh, you know, good countryman”. But it probably goes back way further.

To Saint David himself? That’s right. One legend has the patron saint of Wales, who died in AD589, ordering his soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets, in a battle against pagan Saxon invaders. But the relationship probably predates even that, to a time when druids worshipped nature and plants and …

… and tall white and green vegetables of the onion family. OK, got it, Wales and leeks have a thing. But what about daffodils? Also daffodils. Never mind them, though, this is about leeks!

What’s new? They can now be officially Welsh.

Meaning? Welsh leeks are the latest addition to the UK geographical indication (GI) scheme, which protects the name, authenticity and characteristics of regional products. So you’ll know you’re getting “the real thing”.

I thought that was Coca-Cola, from the US? Be quiet. Also, you’re showing your age.

What else is on the GI scheme? Ninety-two products in total, including Welsh lamb, Cornish clotted cream, Melton Mowbray pork pies, stilton cheese, Jersey Royal potatoes, Arbroath smokies …

Scottish deep-fried Mars bars? Stop it.

How will I know the leeks I’m buying are from Wales? There will be a logo on the label.

But will I be able to tell the difference between a leek from Wales and one from … I don’t know, the town of Leek, in Staffordshire, perhaps? There is no specific variety in Wales, but Welsh leeks, which are grown on stony soil, including in coastal areas, are known for their long dark green leaves, and their distinctive pepperiness.

I’d love to know what Aled Jones said. “We’re walking in the air”?

No, not that one. Also, you’re showing your age now. Sorry, you mean Aled Jones, the president of National Farmers Union Cymru. He said: “We are thrilled that Welsh leeks have been granted the GI status. The leek has long been synonymous with Wales and it is fitting that its distinctive look, taste and flavour have now been recognised and protected.”

Hurrah! And we’ve done well to avoid any lame and predictable leek/leak puns. Hold my Kentish strong ale.

Do say: “Mmm, this cawl is yummy. So deliciously and distinctively peppery. You can totally taste where it’s from, no logo necessary.”

Don’t say: “Did some famous Welsh leaks maybe find their way into the Red Dragons’ defence the other night, in Qatar?”

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