In my fridge I have some beautiful Roman snails, brought here all the way from Italy for me to sell Image

The Romans brought two kinds of edible snails here 2,000 years ago along with most of the vegetables and fruits that we eat today. So they had a profound effect on our diet. They brought the common garden snail Helix aspersa which is a relative of the kind of snails I farm today. They also brought the one we call the Roman snail: Helix pomatia. It is found in the wild in chalky locations like the Kent Downs, Chilterns and Cotswolds and is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It’s also often associated with sites of Roman occupation like the towns and villages along Watling Street here in Kent. Whenever local people tell me they’ve got Roman snails in their garden I feel very jealous. I think I’m going to find it difficult to sell them because I just want to keep them.

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