The Watercress Company has welcomed the start of the season by delivering the first leaves to a local Tesco in Dorchester dressed in Victorian period costume.
The store was selected after it was discovered local shoppers buy more watercress per head of population than at any other Tesco in the country.
Due to the mild spring, the first UK watercress was available a week early, well in time for the annual Alresford Watercress Festival, taking place this weekend (21 May).
As well as the costumes, The Watercress Company team used a traditional wooden barrow to deliver produce to the Dorchester Tesco, in tribute to the product’s history as it’s been grown in the area since the 1890s.
Shoppers at the store can enter a competition via the Love Watercress facebook page to win VIP access to the Watercress Festival, as well as lunch for four and a farm tour.
Manager of the Dorchester Tesco, Eddie Garlick, said: “As Dorchester sells more watercress than any other Tesco store in the country it seemed only fitting to let our customers have the chance to enjoy the freshest possible watercress first, literally having harvested, washed and delivered it direct from the growers.”
Watercress Company MD Tom Amery said: “Watercress has been, and remains, an important produce for the area and locals obviously feel great loyalty towards it as well as appreciating its taste and health properties.
“We always look forward to the arrival of the UK season and wanted to share that excitement with the people of Dorchester and the surrounding area who clearly value this peppery superfood too.”
To mark the start of the season elsewhere, hampers of watercress and related goodies were delivered to consumer and trade media outlets. As well as a bag of freshly-picked leaves, the hampers included Chococo watercress chocolate, Twisted Nose Gin, Watercress Warrior Beer, a smoothie, pesto, and energy balls - all made with watercress.
Meanwhile, rapper Macka B has worked watercress into a new rap, which has so far been viewed over 11,000 times on Youtube.