Here's the first of the rhubarb this year. It is worth covering one crown each year to "blanche" it, if only because you accelerate the crop by a couple of weeks. And I use the term "blanche" on purpose. "Forcing" is are far more industrial process where the whole plant is dug up, frosted and then removed to dark heated sheds. Even though I love the acidity of outdoor grown rhubarb, I am entranced by the crinkley yellow leaves and the anaemic pink stems. Right alongside my blanching bin the 'outdoor' rhubarb has dark red stems with grass green leaves - and is short and stunted by comparison (despite the Scottish heatwave of the past week). Now the cold wind is up it will be a couple of weeks before it is ready for picking. In the meantime we luxuriate with our homegrown rhubarb and bypass the forced rhubarb in the supermarket, retailing at £8 per kilo!