Scottish soft fruit escapes cold damage

The bizarre recent weather in the east of Scotland appears not to have set back the area's soft fruit season, according to growers.

A record March temperature for Scotland of nearly 24 degsC was set on 27 March at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. But last week, Scotland and northern England were hit by sub-zero temperatures and snowfalls of up to 17cm.

Scotty Brand managing director Paul McLaughlin said: "A couple of times we had guys up at five in the morning to brush snow off the polytunnels. But the crops are okay."

Peter Thomson, owner of Perthshire grower Thomas Thomson, said: "It was better that we had snow than a severe frost. It wasn't cold enough to cause much harm - although one or two flowers may have been damaged."

The company is now hoping for more benign weather after hurricane-force winds destroyed polytunnels and crops last year. The warm spell had left the crop roughly 10 days ahead, said Thomson, with first strawberry picking due in mid May.


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