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PUBLISHED: 11:25 03 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:40 28 May 2010

ONE in six of Britain's onions gets processed in Chatteris. The region's growers are now enjoying success with their purple carrots, and the popularity of Fen-grown white pumpkins knows no bounds. So it's no surprise that entrepreneurial growers in Fenla

ONE in six of Britain's onions gets processed in Chatteris.The region's growers are now enjoying success with their purple carrots, and the popularity of Fen-grown white pumpkins knows no bounds. So it's no surprise that entrepreneurial growers in Fenland have turned their attention to another trusty and, hitherto, unglamorous vegetable to give it a makeover.This one, we're reliably told, can be turned into a warm mash, blended into a fresh smoothie, or even whipped up into a chocolate cake.We are talking beetroot, and supermarkets like Tesco, which sources most of its beetroot from the Fens, reckons it is enjoying a renaissance. Nutritionists claim its high source of folate protects against high blood pressure, while others point to its protection against unhealthy cholesterol: it is also, wonderfully, fat free and low in calories. Of course, we have celebrity chefs to thank in part for the high profile of this new 'superfood' which was once used by Victorians as a hair dye. They have demonstrated its versatility to the extent that Tesco has even landed us with something called 'sweetfire beetroot', which has been marinated in chilli. So successful have been the latest campaigns for beetroot that some growers are contemplating giving over whole acres of Fenland fields to the crop. All of which is good news for our food industry - and a surprisingly good piece of news to share in the midst of a gloomy winter.

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