Welsh leeks have joined the ranks of prestigious foods after being given protected status – just like Cornish clotted cream and Cheddar cheese.
The humble vegetable is the national emblem for Wales with families pinning it to their clothes to celebrate St David’s Day.
The patriotic Welsh veg has now been given protected status after an application was made under the Protected Geographical Indication scheme.
Between forty and 50 thousand tonnes of leeks are produced each year in the UK Credit: PA
The scheme is the British version of the EU protected status – and protects other foods such as Jersey Royal Potatoes and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.
The leeks are the third Welsh product to achieve the highly sought-after status after Gower Salt Marsh Lamb and Cambrian Mountains Lamb.
Welsh Leeks are normally planted from late February through to May and harvested from August through until April or May.
Between 40 and 50,000 tonnes of leeks are produced in Britain each year.
The veg has its own specific characteristics including the predominant long distinctive dark green flag which makes up over 40 per cent of the overall length.
Families in Wales often wear the symbols of the vegetables on March 1 to celebrate the patron saint – and also at international sports matches.
Members of the Royal Welsh Regiment wear leeks in their hats on St David’s Day Credit: PA
Soldiers from the Welsh Guards Regiment also wear leeks in their helmets on St David’s Day.The hardy leek can be grown in wet and cold conditions before making it to the dining table.The products will now boast the UK GI logo on the packaging to promote the heritage and culture of Wales.The application for Welsh Leeks PGI status was led by food suppliers Puffin Produce based in Pembrokeshire.Huw Thomas, Puffin Produce CEO, said: “The leek is an iconic emblem of Wales – we are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh Leeks and the GI status is hugely important to promote the quality and heritage behind this majestic crop.”