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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Rhubarb growers' 'forceful' plea
Forced rhubarb
Yorkshire rhubarb grows in "forcing sheds" with special lighting
Hot on the heels of Champagne, Parma ham and Feta cheese, Yorkshire's rhubarb growers are hoping for European protection for the plant.

If no objections are raised to an application for protected status for Yorkshire rhubarb, the European Commission will consider the case.

The application is currently with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Producers said the aim was to protect the local "forcing" heritage.

The "forcing" of rhubarb involves growing the plant in darkened sheds with the illumination coming from low level artificial light.

Traditional grower Janet Oldroyd said: "I'm a fourth-generation rhubarb grower so I suppose it's been passed on to me, but there are only 12 growers left when originally there were over 200.

"We have to protect the heritage of this area and there are copies about - it's a British technique that has been copied in certain parts of the world."

They deserve to know what they're getting
Janet Oldroyd

She added: "We're looking for the name 'traditonally grown Yorkshire Indoor Rhubarb' which differentiates it [from other types of cultivated rhubarb].

"People pay money for a product, they deserve to know what they're getting."

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