British strawberry delays will be ‘worth the wait’ - Fruit & Vine

British strawberry delays will be ‘worth the wait’

Strawberry producers say despite the delays, the fruit will be bigger and juicer this year.

Fresh strawberries in punnets
The UK is self-sufficient in strawberry production. Image Credit: Unspalsh

Recent cold weather and minimal sunlight has meant there’s been a delay in the production of British strawberries.

The first big harvests of the season have now been forecast for the end of May, however, fruit is predicted to be larger and juicier, British Berry Growers has said.

Strawberry season

Flowering and ripening of the fruit has occurred more gradually, which is set to create larger and juicer strawberries.

Crops under poly-tunnels escaped damage from the poor weather conditions. Yet the slow growth built stronger plants, which had the energy to support larger, more flavoursome fruit.

Strawberries on a chopping board with a jug of cream
British strawberries. Image Credit: Unsplash

Record-breaking weather

The Met Office states this winter was the eighth wettest on record for the UK.

Above average rainfall was recorded across every region, and spring saw further downpours.

England and Wales recorded more than 150% of their long-term average monthly rainfall.

It’s also been colder and duller than average.

Strawberry delays will ensure bigger juicier fruit
Strawberry delays will ensure bigger, juicier fruit. Image credit: Unpslash

Berry good news

Over the last year, shoppers have reportedly spent a record £847.5 million on strawberries, Kantar figures show.

The UK is now self-sufficient in strawberry production for the summer season thanks to developments in growing techniques.

Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are still the most popular fruit items for shoppers.

28% of all fruit sold in the UK is from berries, with the industry said to be worth £1.87 billion – an all-time high.

Delays worth the wait

Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers, said: “Cold, wet weather and reduced sunlight hours this spring means Britain’s strawberry crop will arrive later this year.

“But the good news is they’re well worth the wait!

“The slower ripening period will allow flavours to develop as strawberries grow to become particularly large and juicy.

“It’ll be a fantastic year for British strawberries.

Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers says strawberry delays will ensure better fruit
Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers. Image credit: British Berry Growers

“British berries are big business for the UK economy with year-round retail sales reaching an all-time high of £1.87 billion in the UK alone.

“When we see the potential for growth of British strawberry sales outside the UK it makes it a great shame that red tape is making it harder for growers to export their high-quality berries.

“It’s nonsensical that, despite having some of the world’s most in-demand berries, we’re unable to compete in the global market due to red tape.

“Urgent government reforms are needed that reflect the realities of modern trading.

“As a nation we must capitalise on this great export opportunity.”

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