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British samphire will be sold at Waitrose fish counters for the first time (Photo: Waitrose)

Waitrose Serves Up An Unusual Trio Of Sea Vegetables

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 6/9/2011)

Sea vegetables traditionally found on British coastlines are hitting supermarket shelves following a surge in demand linked to the foraging trend. 

Samphire (Salicornia europaea) and sea aster (Aster tripolium), both native British plants, will appear at Waitrose supermarket fresh fish counters this summer.

Demand for samphire outstripped supply at the supermarket last year as the foraging trend raised its profile and made the green vegetable a foodies’ must-have.

Samphire (Salicornia europaea) is classed as sea vegetable, not seaweed

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Rick Stein are among the celebrity chefs who have sung the praises of samphire, typically found in marshlands and mudflats around estuaries.

British samphire will be sold at Waitrose fish counters for the first time thanks to the supermarket securing its own dedicated supply.

Waitrose fresh produce buyer Rhonwen Cunningham said: “Samphire became so popular during 2010 that customer demand outstripped our supply, so we’ve worked hard to get more of this delicious green vegetable into our stores”.

Sea aster (Aster tripolium) is a native British plant

“British-grown sea aster and samphire will be available at Waitrose this summer while the season lasts – so shoppers won’t have to go foraging in the wild for them.”

Danish eaterie Noma - which recently retained its crown as the world’s best restaurant - put foraging on the culinary map by serving up local wild plants.

 

Samphire and sea aster are classed as sea vegetables, not seaweed, and have a light delicate flavour.

They take just a few minutes to steam cook or sautee and are usually served with fish, seafood or saltmarsh lamb.

The Ledbury in London - this year's highest new entry in the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards - recently had sea vegetables on its tasting menu.

Upmarket London eateries J.Sheekey and Arbutus both recently served shellfish with sea purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), another wild coastal plant.

A third sea vegetable called Okahijiki, originally from Japan, makes its UK supermarket debut at Waitrose in late June. It has a fresh, light taste and is already served in restaurants on the Continent.

Samphire, sea aster and okahijiki are now grown exclusively for Waitrose on a farm in the Midlands.

Britain’s foraging trend grew to such an extent last year that illegal wild mushroom picking at beauty spot Epping Forest hit a record high.

About Waitrose Supermarket

Unlike other major supermarkets, Waitrose isn't owned by shareholders and the City.
Instead, as part of the John Lewis Partnership, it's owned by everyone who works for the Partnership. And every year they share the profits that would normally go to shareholders. As you would expect this produces an extraordinary high level of committment amongst those who work in our stores.

There are Waitrose shops throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Locations range from high streets to edge of town sites and vary in size from just 7,000 square feet to approximately 56,000 feet. The John Lewis Partnership as a whole employs nearly 68,000 Partners and has a turnover in excess of £6 billion (USD 9.8226 billion). As well as Waitrose, it runs 26 John Lewis department stores throughout the United Kingdom, several manufacturing concerns and a farm.

Source: Waitrose

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Margaret E.L. Stacey
Editor Companies and Products
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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