Bumper harvest sweetens summer prospects

Monday 09th May 2011 by theWeather club

Wimbledon is all set to be a classic this year, a tournament to remember. This may seem a bold prediction this far in advance, however it has nothing to do with the tennis. It is that other quintessentially British export ‘Strawberries and Cream’ that is set to shine. Britain's spring heat-wave has led to the biggest and best quality English strawberry crop for 20 years according to growers. In fact such is the quality and quantity of the fruit being produced that one of the major supermarket chains has reduced orders for its overseas strawberries by 50%.

Hampshire based R and V Emery, one of England's largest strawberry growers, said it is the earliest start to the English strawberry season it had see for about 20 years. It seems that the good weather has brought the season forward by about two weeks and the increased sugar levels has made the current crop much sweeter and juicier than normal.

Vernon Emery, who runs the business with his brother Richard, said: “Our production yield is up by 150% on recent years and if the good weather continues and we get some rain too we could be heading for a record year. The extra warmth has helped boost sugar levels,” he explained, “but equally important have been good levels of light which have helped the fruit set and encouraged bees to pollinate the plants. The great weather has also been consistent without dips in temperature which would have hampered the quality.”

Paul Jones, strawberry buyer for the supermarket chain said: “The unexpected great weather means an abundance of top quality, sweeter than normal English strawberries - of the standard normally associated with Wimbledon fortnight. As the quality is so high we've taken far more of the English crop than we usually do at this time of year.” He continued, “This is fantastic news for the English strawberry industry and should see them getting an unexpected windfall from increased orders from UK retailers.”

So with mounds of extra sweet strawberries dripping in oceans of fresh cream on the way, we may all have to work a little bit harder to get those beach bodies ready for summer.