A few times in my life, I’ve been lucky enough to live abroad: in France, the Caribbean and in Africa. One thing people often say about moving to warmer climes is that they’d miss the changing of the seasons. Personally, I love the idea of summer all year round, although tropical locations do, of course, get rainy seasons and hurricanes.

One of the strangest things about living on the equator is getting used to the sun setting around the same time every evening, irrespective of the time of year. And there are no gentle, lengthy dusks: darkness falls like a door slamming shut. Being aware of this was particularly important in Africa, where driving after dark was essentially an extreme sport.

The food and drink industry is very much governed by the seasons, from lambing season to harvest time and, in production and retail, from Easter eggs to Christmas cake. Summer – when we get one – is a time for salads and barbecues and in winter we stock up on soup and pies. Anyone running a restaurant, bar or hotel will plan their year around seasonal events, from Valentine’s Day to New Year’s Eve. And many chefs now choose to cook with locally produced seasonal foods, to save on costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

I recently saw a picture on Facebook with a picture of Santa Claus leaning forward and saying words to the effect: “Calm down – it’s only September.” But in the food and drink industry, many producers and suppliers will start planning for Christmas as they are taking down the tinsel from the one before. A turkey producer will take orders from major customers in January for the coming Christmas and most businesses will at some point in the year produce a plan for the year ahead.

This year, we skipped summer. I can’t remember a wetter summer – and neither can my 90-year-old neighbour. Personally, if I had a choice of skipping one season, it wouldn’t have been summer, and I’m sure many in the agribusiness would agree. But ultimately we have to work with what we’re given, buy smaller misshapen veg and keep our fingers crossed for next year.

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