Let's get ready to crumble! Farmer keeps centuries old tradition alive

A farmer has kept a centuries old tradition of growing rhubarb by candlelight alive - started by his great-great-uncle in 1870.

Friday, 7th April 2017, 3:37 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:16 pm

Jonathan Westwood is the latest in his family to grow force farmed rhubarb in the “Rubarb Triangle” - a nine-mile squared area in Yorkshire famous for producing early forced rhubarb.

Mr Westwood picks the vegetable in candle-light by hand after a unique growing process.

The rhubarb is left in fields for two years without being harvested, with all sugars kept within the root.

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The 56-year-old farmer, from Wakefield, West Yorks., then moves the crop into pitch black sheds where all of the energy is aimed into the stork, creating a much sweeter taste than usual.

To ensure the plants are unable to photosynthesise, they are picked by hand by candlelight with no doors being opened to keep light away.

The farm is thought to be one of the last to grow rhubarb in this way.

Over 300 tonnes of rhubarb is sent to high end supermarkets each season, even being ordered to Buckingham Palace and potentially onto The Queen’s plate.

The rhubarb triangle is a nine-square-mile section of Yorkshire between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell.

The area has many farms famous for producing early forced rhubarb.

It is believed that West Yorkshire once produced 90% of the world’s winter forced rhubarb from the forcing sheds within the triangle.