‘How would you like your locusts, madam? Roasted with chestnuts on an open fire in the traditional Christmas way, or perhaps cooked al dente and served with a little garlic and lemon?’
This may soon be the prato do dia at a restaurant near you, since survivors from the red locust plague that hit the middle east and, most recently, the Canary Islands, have landed in Lagos, Luz and other points west along the Algarve.
Thai workers in Israel were reported to be delighted that a national delicacy had literally landed on their doorstep. Known as flying prawns and easily measuring eight centimetres long, a recipe in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper recommended grilling and turning them until they turn yellow!
The three specimens we had in the PlantScape garden centre in Almadena were exhausted from their sojourn in the Canaries and died shortly after arrival. Others reported in Luz and Lagos were similarly in bad shape.
Originating from Africa, officials in the Red Sea resort of Eilat said many of the plants and trees in city parks had been stripped of their foliage. They also reported that the locusts seemed to prefer palm and olive trees, basil, grape leaves and grass. They appear to pose little threat to Algarvean plants at the moment, as a combination of distance and winter will kill them off. But gardeners should keep a lookout and kill any they find wintering in a warm spot. How you kill them is up to you, but it can be messy, I warn you! Clive Goodacre