NFU West Midlands horticulture board chairman Anthony Snell of soft-fruit grower of the year AJ & CI Snell said: "It's a very challenging spring on the back of a difficult year.
"We've been having sharp frosts down to -6 degsC just at the time when strawberries are coming into flower and at their most vulnerable, which means additional costs of covering and fleecing the crop, on top of the additional labour we needed to clear snow off the polytunnels."
"At least sunshine levels have been good and there are no water issues. For blackcurrants, the extra winter chill has been a positive. But the bigger picture is that the UK soft-fruit season will be a week to ten days late, which means more opportunities for imports. We need some nice weather this month."
English Apples & Pears chief executive Adrian Barlow agreed. "It all depends on the next two or three weeks - that will determine whether we have a late season or merely an average one. We need some strong sunshine, followed by adequate rainfall. With that, and with young orchards coming on, we could even top the market share of 38 per cent that we had in 2011-12."
The prolonged cold snap has in some ways benefited growers, he explained. "At the start of the year, we worried that temperatures were too mild and the trees wouldn't shut down properly, leading to early blossoming, particularly in pears, with poor pollination and the risk of frost damage. The month of cold weather has kept trees dormant and has controlled pests, while the lack of rain has let the ground dry and reduced the risk of disease."
British Leafy Salad Association chairman Colin Bloomfield said: "For outdoor crops, most growers haven't made an assessment of how far behind they are, but they are likely to be well behind. If it's two weeks, that's a lost sales window."
"The crop under polythene isn't coming on. The harvest as a whole will be around two weeks late - it traditionally starts on St George's Day (21 April) but it often slips. This year, it won't be in the shops until around 7 May."
Andy Allen, chairman, Asparagus Growers Association