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Puy lentils demand soars as they appear on George's menu

Growers are reporting a boost in demand for puy lentils after they appeared on Prince George's menu at his £18,000-a-year private school in Battersea, southwest London.

Puy lentil producers across the world have rejoiced after Prince George's £18,000-a-year private school served up a dish containing the pulse

Puy lentil producers across the world have rejoiced after Prince George's £18,000-a-year private school served up a dish containing the pulse.

Growers are already reporting a boost in demand for the crop as a direct consequence of the publication of a Daily Mail article revealing the menu at Thomas's school in Battersea, southwest London.  

It comes after the lentils - which originated in Le Puy-en-Velay in France - suffered a devastatingly poor harvest last year during a humid summer.

'It's the "star effect" - as soon as a VIP is linked to a product,' Antoine Wassner, head of lentil firm Sabarot, told L'Express newspaper in France.

'We've had high demand from clients in Britain since the Daily Mail article, notably from restaurants.'

He added: 'Maybe the trend won't last on the other side of the Channel. But with the vogue for being vegan, we're hopeful.'

Young George was last week offered a lunch of either lamb ragout with garlic and herbs, pork stroganoff with red peppers or smoked mackerel on a bed of puy lentils.  

‘We recognise that a balanced diet stimulates the brain, improves concentration, helps the children to study and assists with memory,’ the school's website explains.

Young George was last week offered a lunch of either lamb ragout with garlic and herbs, pork stroganoff with red peppers or smoked mackerel on a bed of puy lentils. Pictured: Puy lentils with butternut squash

Thomas's school explained its food choices on its website: ‘We recognise that a balanced diet stimulates the brain, improves concentration, helps the children to study and assists with memory'

Woman arrested yards from gates of George's Battersea school  

A major security review was launched last night after a suspected stalker was arrested attempting to break into Prince George’s school.

The 40-year-old woman was detained by undercover police officers yards from the gates of Thomas’s London Day School in Battersea, south-west London.

Teachers were on red alert after the same woman had been able to briefly talk her way into the building posing as a legitimate visitor 24 hours earlier.

She escaped when challenged by staff but was spotted again loitering nearby yesterday afternoon triggering her arrest on suspicion of attempted burglary.

The prince, four, who is third in line to the throne, was not present at the time of either security scare because as a new starter he leaves at lunchtime.

She escaped when challenged by staff but was spotted again loitering nearby yesterday afternoon triggering her arrest on suspicion of attempted burglary.

One former senior officer last night described the shocking breach as ‘very worrying’, but added: ‘Schools are not fortresses.’ 

Producers of puy lentils in France were left crushed after only 1,800 tonnes of the crop was registered last year, compared with the 4,000 or so expected from a good haul. 

Frank Rocher, chairman of puy lentil producers' association, said the area' 700 growers were in desperate need of help after rainy summers which the pulse 'really detests' and 'very complex' European Union rules preventing the use of certain herbicides.

But he said the publicity is a cause for optimism, adding: 'There have been a lot of people making contact with us. Just yesterday I had a call from a wholesaler.'

Mr Rocher did, however, say it was 'too early' to say whether the link between the British prince and the French lentil will have a major effect on sales. 

But that hasn't stopped producers dreaming of a rise in the price of puy lentils, which sell for about 7 euros a kilogram in France, as the world's wealthy flock to the latest food fad endorsed by royalty. 

The likes of Turkey, Canada and the USA are also major producers of the crop and may stand to benefit from a rise in its popularity.

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