UK cherry harvest "up 22 per cent" this year

Growers of British cherries are anticipating a record season, which gets under way this week.

Image: Biker Jun (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: Biker Jun (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A harvest of up to 5,500 tonnes is predicted - a 22 per cent increase on last year, and an 18-fold increase on 2000. The UK's total cherry market last year was valued at £126 million.

A range of innovations are fuelling growth including new, sweeter varieties and the Gisela dwarf rootstock enabling growing in polytunnels, which safeguard the crop from the weather, while new orchards have been planted in western England, Scotland and elsewhere.

The unusually wet June has delayed fruiting by two weeks, but the more slowly developing fruit has led to higher sugar levels, according to industry body British Cherries.

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