Berry Gardens enjoys strong raspberry sales and backs blueberries

Soft fruit grower cooperative Berry Gardens is experiencing healthy growth in raspberry sales but also believes UK-grown blueberries have potential.

Managing director Nicholas Marston said: "We have seen a 15 per cent rise in the value of raspberry sales over the past 12 months. In fact, growth is faster than for strawberries. Consumption of raspberries is less affected by the weather - they are less seen as a treat - whereas strawberries really flagged last year."

Chairman Paul Kelsey said: "Modern breeding is bringing out exciting new selections in raspberries. For the grower, the economics of Driscoll's new Margarita are very good, while Carmina is a premium selection because of its unique flavour."

He added: "Both blueberries and raspberries are growing. I suspect more people will grow blueberries in this country. Though it's on a 10 to 15-year cycle, it's a different mindset."

Berry Gardens began encouraging growers to grow blueberries 10 years ago, Marston pointed out, adding: "We have gone from 25 acres (10ha), then to 250 now. This is a good country to grow blueberries in, and there is no reason we shouldn't grow more. But you have to get the right varieties."

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