Farmer is giving away 140,000 onions as heatwave wreaks his crop

Farmer is giving away 140,000 onions as heatwave wreaks havoc with agriculture – while food shoppers are told to buy wonky, shrunken vegetables amid warnings of widespread crop failures

  • Tim Young is giving away 40 tonnes of onions to stop them going to waste 
  • The farmer said his crop is ‘absolutely fine’ but doesn’t meet supermarket quality
  • Brits are being encouraged to buy wonky produce as fears of crop failures rise

A farmer is giving away more than 140,000 onions after the summer heatwave has stopped them from being sold in supermarkets.

Tim Young has invited anyone to help themselves to some of the 40 tonnes worth of onions in order to stop his crop from going to waste, which was damaged by soaring temperatures and downy mildew. 

This comes as Brits are being encouraged to ‘pull together’ and buy ‘wonky’ vegetables due to the ongoing drought damaging farmer’s produce and destroying harvests.

Mr Young said: ‘It seemed such a waste to plough them back into the field, especially when there is the cost of living crisis at the moment. 

Tim Young (pictured) is giving away some of his onions which do not meet the high standards of supermarkets

The heatwave meant that 140,000 onions were damaged, but many remained perfectly edible

‘Around 60% of the onions are absolutely fine and anyone who wants some can come along and pick their own for free. 

‘I am just delighted that they are going to be eaten rather than going to waste. It is all about reducing food waste. The onions will last for months if stored properly.’ 

The National Famers’ Union has said shoppers must be willing to buy vegetables which has not met the high standards of supermarkets, such as not being the shape and size. 

However some crops have been left unedible, with the National Drought Group estimating that crops including onions, carrots and potatoes will see failure rates of up to 50%, according to leaked documents seen by The Guardian.

Seen in the documents, water companies have been blamed for failing to prioritise food production during the heat wave, which may also lead to livestock being slaughtered early due to a lack of food.

Mr Young explained that the challenges farmers are used to facing have been made worse by the high temperatures and national drought. 

 The National Farmers Union are telling shoppers to be prepared to buy ‘wonky’ produce due to the large impact the drought has had on the shape and size of crops

He said: ‘We manage diseases every year, but when you have temperatures up to 40 degrees, it just goes rife.

‘The heat got into the weakened plants and made it so a proportion of them are really unharvestable.

‘We have two acres here full of really lovely onions, but we cannot get them into store or sell them to the supermarkets.

‘We have never had a situation where we knowingly had to leave good onions out there in the field, so we wanted to make it available to people to come and help themselves.’

Water companies have been blamed for the predicted crop failures, as they did not prioritise food production

Teacher Liz Budgen, who visited the field to collect sacks of onions, described Mr Young’s offer as a ‘brilliant idea’.

She said: ‘The onions are great quality. It is nice to come and pick them up in the field, rather than buy from a supermarket.

‘The onions we are collecting will last us through the winter. We cook loads of curries so we use onions in pretty much every meal. They are a staple for us.’

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