Soft fruit industry celebrates record-breaking strawberry crop

The soft fruit industry is celebrating a record-breaking strawberry crop - the volumes of which are so far eight per cent greater than last year.

2014 has been a record year for British strawberries
2014 has been a record year for British strawberries

British Summer Fruits, the organisation which represents 97 per cent of all the berries supplied to UK supermarkets, has revealed that 60,170 tonnes of the fruit have already been produced in 2014.

More fruit is expected to make this tonnage even greater as growers are still producing the fruit and expect the season to continue into December.

The season started in March, seven weeks earlier than last year, as a result of the unexpectedly mild winter.

This year’s record crop will have therefore run for around 38 weeks by the end of the season – more than two thirds of the year.

British growers have also benefited from a 98 per cent market share at the peak of the season, a result of the successful replacement of imports.

Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits, said: "Due to the industry’s investment in new varieties, increased planting and the growing use of glasshouses, we have been able to meet a growing demand from consumers."

Anthony Snell, who runs AJ & CI Snell farm with his wife Christine in Herefordshire, said:

"Thanks to the fantastic growing conditions that we’ve seen throughout the year, we have been able to provide flavoursome, sweet strawberries starting in spring and continuing all the way into mid-autumn.

"We use polytunnels to protect our crops and this crucially meant that the crop and soil were protected throughout the season, so they could grow naturally without any damage."

Strawberry growing is now being hailed as a success story of the British produce industry.

Just 25 years ago, prior to the introduction of polytunnels and other new technologies, the British season lasted for just six weeks and had a market share of around 10 per cent.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

Is a post-Brexit seasonal worker scheme now impossible?

The UK fresh-produce sector has reacted with dismay at the latest developments in the ongoing debate, largely conducted out of public view, on whether UK horticulture will still have access to seasonal migrant workers when the UK leaves the EU in 18 months' time.

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, a new report argues.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon