A year after the divisive vote, the U.K. faces a decidely less delicious future.
Much like the food he grows, 66-year-old John Merry is a forthright, no-nonsense man, keeping sheep and raising wheat, barley, rapeseed, and beans on 1,000 acres in England’s East Midlands. During his decades in the business, he has seen dozens of dramatic ups and downs — not least the devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that caused the death of 10 million animals in 2001 — so he’s hardly prone to hysteria. Yet just a year after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, he thinks Brexit may radically change the way Brits farm and eat.
Although British food has long had a reputation for being “boring, bland, and boiled” — at least according to notoriously adventurous eater Andrew Zimmern — U.K. fare now more than holds its own against Europe’s sexiest cuisines. The quality of local ingredients is now among the highest in the world, and British food culture has fueled the rise of celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.