Our Herald undercover reporter uncovers the sinister side of the illegal Kensington salad trade.
It’s 2 a.m. and I’m standing outside an all-night coffee shop in London’s Kensington High Street, waiting, as Lou Reed so eloquently put it, “for my man”. As the drizzle intensifies, a shadowy figure sidles up to me, looks around furtively and whispers, “you here for some green?”
“Green..?” I query.
“Salad man. Lettuce, cumber, you get my drift? I got good quality Cos and fresh cumber. Spanish Cos and Columbian cumber.”
I hand him a £50 note. He doesn’t bother to check it, but reaches into a rucksack and pulls out a shrink wrapped lettuce and a small cucumber. “Stash it man. Pigs around.”
I don’t have a bag. He sighs, reaches into his holdall and hands me a carrier bag. “Gonna have to charge you 5p for the bag man”, he says, but then disappears as the sounds of a police siren echo around the area.
A well dressed lady in a fur coat is huddled in a nearby doorway. “Five a day, gotta get my five”, she mumbles as I pass. Then she catches my arm. “Got any green, please. Need green. No salad for hours…”
She bursts into tears, a mere shadow of the well educated, rich Rodean girl she used to be, a haunted effigy of a once proud and confident Sloane Ranger. This is what we’ve come to. This is the reality of the misery the salad dealers are causing everyday.
“Got any green?” It haunts me as I hurry down the road, salad clutched safely to my chest.