Photo essay: If you are quiet you can hear it growing...

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Forced Yorkshire rhubarb grows in the darkness at the E Oldroyd and Sons farm in Rothwell.

The rhubarb is harvested by candlelight so the remainder of the crop is not disturbed or affected by the light.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

Forced rhubarb begins life as cuttings taken from a mature crown two years before harvesting. When strong enough the cuttings are planted in fields to mature, ready for the forcing shed.

After it is harvested, forced rhubarb has a sherbet, tangy flavour and a delicate texture.

Farmers say that you can hear the popping sound of forced rhubarb as it grows in the dark.

Though rhubarb is a vegetable, in 1947 a court in Buffalo, New York, reportedly ruled that it was a fruit because it was eaten as such in the United States.

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