The crops have enjoyed the recent rain and are looking increasingly well. I had to choose the field of wheat and barley which I considered to be the best on the farm last week for the judging of cereal crops for the Hurstpierpoint Ploughing Match crops competition.
Farmers show off crops in a way that normal people show their off their children or pets. Well, we have nurtured them with just as much care and attention and seen them through difficult seasons, tendered to their every need and fought off predatory weeds trying to crowd them out, diseases and pests.
We are competing with our neighbours and however much we like our fellow farmers, well most of them, we dearly would like to be seen to have grown a better crop than they have!
Time will tell but although I was able to show two nice clean fields with the cereals looking healthy and strong, the crop is predictably light so I doubt we shall be gaining any silverware, nor will we be breaking any records with the yield.
I am not particularly excited at the prospect of eating ‘Test-Tube’ meat. The airwaves are alive with discussions on this subject. By Wednesday a so far unnamed celebrity will have sampled the very first ‘Test-Tube’ burger. This morsel which was said to have probably cost in excess of £200,000, not because some fancy chef will have cooked the thing to perfection, but because Prof Mark Post, a doctor and scientist at the University of Maastricht has developed what he believes is the very first synthesised meat product created in a lab from cultured tissue.
This ‘delicious, mouth-watering’ burger was produced by taking skeletal-muscle stem cells from a cow, sheep or chicken, grown them in vitro producing thin sheets of muscle by stimulating it with electricity. The little strips of meat were then woven together to create a lump of meat or burger.
I find it interesting that some of the people who believe eating genetically modified food is like’ dining with the devil’, but are prepared to eat a laboratory experiment of synthetic material, in place of meat from a healthy animal.
One has to question why all the fuss about eating horse meat? I would have thought it has to be infinitely preferable to ‘Test-Tube’ meat.
Prof Post has based his research and created this product by taking animal tissue and using it to grow meat in a vat. However in Silicon valley, California, a geneticist called Pat Brown is making meat out of plants using vegetable or fungal protein.
His plan is to create cheap, fake meat burgers which he believes hungry Americans will buy. The theory is that this will cause the world’s livestock industry to collapse, and pastures will be abandoned or given over to crops.
The purpose of all this is the concern that the ever growing population and increasing world-wide demand for meat as living standards improve. This could result in an expanding livestock agricultural industry which is no longer sustainable as farm animals compete for the food which otherwise could feed the growing population.
A recent UN report concluded that the demand for meat world-wide is in fact slowing, so perhaps these assumptions should be questioned.
I expect the ‘Test-Tube’ burger may catch on with those who are prepared to eat anything including processed foods, the contents of which are generally unknown and often dodgy.
However, there will always be a market for genuine free range meat but in time it could become increasingly expensive, and be stigmatised by animal rights activists who will try and stop the consumption of meat from a beast which has been reared and slaughtered for the purpose.
Fortunately there are still a majority who have healthy appetites and recognise that quality natural food is best. But sadly as it is all too plain to see as you walk down any high street where there are far too many fat people who already live on an unhealthy diet of processed food.
Yes there are people starving around the world where food is scarce. There is also too much food which is unhealthy and cheap which is causing an even more serious health epidemic.
I am not sure lab produced food is the answer to addressing this problem, the distribution of healthy food should be priority.
We shall no doubt hear much more on this subject and a verdict is awaited on the taste and quality of this beetroot coloured, caramel and saffron flavoured burger. The very thought is enough to turn a good carnivore into a vegetarian – God forbid!
Carola Godman Irvine