The shortage of fruit and vegetables is showing no signs of abating anytime soon, so some industrious social media users have discovered some alternative sources.
Many people have taken to growing their own, although this can take some time which does not help when you want some juicy tomato slices with your salad. There is now some new places to pick fresh tomatoes although they do come with a warning.
Firstly, hundreds of ‘sewage tomatoes’ have sprung up in the Kent countryside after being fertilised by nearby treatment works and are ripe for cultivation.
Some have suggested a possible explanation for the tomatoes is that birds feeding on nearby landfill sites are using a nearby large-scale tomato farm as a food source. But plant experts say it is possible for tomato seeds to survive the sewage treatment process and that the seeds are being deposited during sewage overflows.
The tomatoes were spotted growing on a Kent shoreline near to where human waste is pumped into the sea in 2021. Dubbed ‘sewage tomatoes’, the fruits are believed to have grown from seeds in treated sewage pumped into the water near Pegwell Bay.
The tomato seeds, which too small to be filtered out during the sewage treatment process – are then washed up on the coastline. They are subsequently fertilised by human waste, they spouted into a row of tomato plants along the bay and other coastlines like it. Tasty.
The human body tends not to digest tomatoes and they are a large part of our diet
If the thought of sewage tomatoes is not appetising, the plants have also been spotted growing on railway lines. Human waste is being dumped on the tracks by passing trains.
So much sewage has been flushed on the route between Southend in Essex and London’s Liverpool Street station, that it has acted like fertiliser to the undigested seeds within it. There is a good chance that you could find plants growing along some of Kent’s railway lines too.
Most modern trains are fitted with toilet tanks which are pumped out at depots, but older rolling stock vehicles do not have the same system. Ministers admit it could take years to eradicate the problem as they as wait for the trains to be taken out of service.
We would not suggest you go and pick tomatoes from any live railway track, unless you want to lose your head – and the rest of your body too!