English Apples & Pears reports bumper cherry year with yields up 65%

This year's bumper cherry crop is 65% greater than last year, according to figures collated by English Apples & Pears (EAP).

As reported in Grower on 23 July, EAP is collating figures on this year's stone fruit crops and relaying the information to the multiples to give them a better idea of how much to import.

EAP chief executive Adrian Barlow said that, thanks to the cold winter and favourable conditions during flowering and fruit set, this year's commercial cherry crop was 1,431 tonnes large - compared to 879 tonnes last year. The increase is particularly impressive considering that fruit size is smaller this year.

Berry Gardens managing director Nick Marston, speaking at Fruit Focus last month, added that the company's cherry-growing areas are increasing in both Kent and Herefordshire, the UK's main cherry-growing regions.

Meanwhile, the commercial plum crop is predicted to be 3,847 tonnes this year compared to 3,375 tonnes last year, marking an increase of 14 per cent. Barlow said: "That's obviously extremely encouraging."

Currently, only 40 per cent of the plums stocked during the British plum seasons are from the UK. But it is hoped that figure will increase in the near future.

Barlow said: "The multiples have said to me that they recognise that there's a strong consumer demand for English stone fruit. They want to support that because they believe it makes good business sense.

"We hope that we can give them accurate figures even earlier next year. This demand for local supply is no doubt going to continue. Consumers are going to want to buy English when it's available."

- For more on this year's English cherry season, see pages 26 and 27.

Breakdown of this year's plum crop by variety:
Jubilee 245 tonnes
Marjorie 1,032 tonnes
Opal 337 tonnes
Reeves 220 tonnes
Victoria 1,866 tonnes
Others 147 tonnes

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