Welsh leeks get official protected status

Leeks have been a national symbol of Wales for centuries.

And now they have their moment, after Welsh leeks joined the likes of Melton Mowbray pork pie, Cornish clotted cream and Scotch whiskey on the official list of protected goods.

The patriotic vegetable has become the latest addition to the register which protects the name, authenticity and characteristics of regional products.

Shoppers will be able to clearly see a logo on the label indicating they’re buying the real thing, and growers will benefit from knowing others can’t imitate them after being added to the Kingdom’s Geographical Indication (GI) system. -United.

The protection applies to all verified products sold in Britain under the ‘Welsh Leeks’ name and should be a boost for the industry.

Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce, requested that Welsh Leeks be designated as IG.

He said: “The leek is an iconic emblem of Wales – we are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh leeks and GI status is hugely important in promoting the quality and heritage behind this majestic crop.”

What separates Welsh leeks from others grown elsewhere is that the distinctive long, dark green flag – the green upper part of the vegetable – makes up more than 40% of its total length.

Welsh leeks are in high demand on March 1 in Wales as well as at international sporting events, with families often wearing the vegetable in celebration.

The connection is thought to be hundreds of years old.

Food and Agriculture Minister Mark Spencer said: “Leeks have been intertwined with Welsh culture for centuries.

“But not only do they appear again and again as national symbols throughout the nation’s rich history, they are an integral part of national cuisine across the country.

“By protecting them as a UK Geographical Indication, we can ensure that buyers know what they have on their plate, and that producers are protected and can take full credit for their work.”

They join items such as Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Cornish Clotted Cream and Scotch Whiskey to help consumers know they are buying genuine, high quality products.

As the newest addition to the UK IG system, protecting a product’s name, characteristics, authenticity and origin, Welsh Leeks will be traceable from field to fork, tracked throughout its growth, harvest and its sale.

As well as their distinctive strong peppery taste and vibrant green color, Welsh leeks are known to grow on harder, sometimes stony soils, including coastal areas of Wales.

Welsh Office Minister Dr James Davies MP said: “The agriculture and food sector is hugely important in Wales, and we are rightly renowned for our high quality produce.

“Buyers will now be able to easily identify the iconic Welsh leek with its distinctive taste, which will give Welsh leek growers an edge and help them grow and grow their businesses.

There are now 92 GI products produced in the UK: 81 agricultural and food products, six wines and five spirits.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones said: “We are delighted that Welsh leeks have been granted GI status. The leek has long been synonymous with Wales and it is fitting that its distinctive appearance, taste and flavor are now recognized and protected.

“In receiving this status, Welsh leeks join a long list of products from Wales enjoying protected status. This recognition of the quality of the food we produce here in Wales will be very important as we seek to develop markets for our products.

Nine products you may not know are on the list – and seven you probably know

  • Welsh traditional cider
  • Salmon caught in West Wales Coracle
  • London Cure Smoked Salmon
  • Traditional Grimsby Smoked Fish
  • Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb
  • Armagh Bramley Apples
  • Clwyd Denbigh Plum Valley
  • Vale of Evesham Asparagus
  • Stornoway black pudding

And the ones you’ve probably done:

  • Welsh lamb
  • Scottish wild salmon
  • Melton Mowbray Pork Pie
  • Cornish pie
  • Traditional Cumberland Sausage
  • Cornish clotted cream
  • Anglesey sea salt

What is the connection between Wales and the leek?

The leek is so well established in Welsh culture that wearing a leek to signify you are from Wales is considered an “ancient tradition” in William Shakespeare’s Henry V, first performed in the 16th century.

According to legend, the 7th century King of Gwynedd, Cadwaladr, ordered his men to attach a leek to their armor to easily distinguish them from the enemy in the heat of battle.

In the 14th century, we know that the formidable Welsh archers adopted the green and white colors of the leek for their uniforms, perhaps at the battle of Crécy.

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