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June 08, 2007

Good News on Organic Farming!

Yes, I know, I rarely have anything nice to say about organic farming. However, this is great news:

Poppies that last bloomed nearly 40 years ago have reemerged to create a blaze of countryside colour.

The crimson haze across 100 acres of fields in Wiltshire has become an unexpected attraction. Herbicides had prevented the seeds from flourishing until the fields were converted to organic production last year, with farmers using clover to increase the land’s fertility.

There's a (rather inefficient) method of extracting opiates, and thus heroin, from those poppies so we'll be able to kill three problems with one stone. Reduce the attractiveness of opium growing in Afghanistan, reduce the trade deficit and reduce those all important drug miles.

Winners all round, eh?

(For those interested, forget extraction as it's boringly complex. Just use the dried seed pod as a teabag, to make opium tea. This may well be illegal, it certainly is in the US, but not sure as to whether it is in the UK.)

And now a pretty picture. Opium tea on the hoof.


June 8, 2007 in Drugs | Permalink


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Interesting. I thought that you needed white poppies for opium, and that red poppies were only a poor relation.

Tim adds: Indeed, but poor relation does not mean no, just less.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Jun 8, 2007 10:31:50 AM

"Herbicides had prevented the seeds from flourishing"

I doubt it. Might have prevented the poppy plants from flourishing, but any fule know that poppy seeds germinate when the ground is disturbed, e.g. in this instance when ploughed and planted with clover.

Posted by: Alfred | Jun 8, 2007 2:21:50 PM

I like "drug miles" a lot, but I would point out that drugs have a better value-to-weight ratio than anything else. It's been suggested that only drugs would be worth transporting through space.

Tim adds: Indeed, been the basis of several sci fi novels: Dune for a start comes to mind.

Posted by: Alex | Jun 8, 2007 3:26:13 PM