Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb gets EU name status

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb
Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb has grown by candlelight since the 1950s

Rhubarb grown by candlelight in an area of Yorkshire known as the Rhubarb Triangle has been given European protected name status.

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb has been added to the list, which includes Champagne and Parma Ham, of foods and drinks to have their names legally protected.

The vegetable is grown at farms in the geographical triangle between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford.

It becomes the 41st British product to be added to the list.

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb joins the likes of Grimsby Smoked Fish, Swaledale Cheese and West Country Cheddar in getting Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Commission's Protected Food Name scheme.

'Hard work'

The foodstuff even has its own annual festival; The Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, which takes place in Wakefield every February.

All Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is grown by just 12 farmers.

One of them, Janet Oldroyd of the Yorkshire Rhubarb Growers Association, said: "To the 12 growers left in the Rhubarb Triangle, a future is now certain.

"To the hundreds of farmers long-since gone this is, in part, recognition of their hard work, dedication and steadfast belief in their product that has kept this industry alive since the early 1950s."

The Environment Secretary and MP for Leeds Central, Hilary Benn, was involved in DEFRA's campaign to win protected status.

He said: "Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb has been recognised thanks to the quality of this traditionally grown product and the enthusiasm and commitment shown by all involved.

"I want to see even more of the best of British produce being protected."

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