Record-breaking spring sunshine boosts British strawberry crop

Sizzling spring weather has been great news for strawberry farmers – with 2020 on track to produce one of Britain’s biggest ever crops of sweeter-than-usual fruit.

According to Tesco, record levels of sunshine in recent weeks have led to an estimated 20% increase in strawberry production.

The excess crop has enabled the retail giant to keep down the price of British-grown fruit, offering 2.2lb (1kg) boxes from Friday for £3.

Strawaberry crops
Strawberry grower Phillip Busby, of Busby Partners, at the producer’s farm in Chilcote, Leicestershire (Tesco/PA)

Tesco berry buyer Laura Mitchell said: “The fantastic UK weather and extra sunshine so far this spring has brought on British strawberries faster than expected, with many growers seeing production 20% higher than normal for this time of year.

“And it’s resulted in exceptionally good quality and sweet strawberries with sugar levels boosted by the plants enjoying the longer, sunny days.”

As a result of the increased availability, Tesco has bought an extra 300 tons of British-grown strawberries.

One grower, Phillip Busby, of Busby Partners, in Chilcote, Leicestershire, said: “Tesco is helping the growers move excess crop, saving on food waste, and with quality being so good it’s a really great offer.”

The extra sunshine has contributed to increased strawberry crops across Britain, including Kent, Essex, Sussex, Hampshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire, Scotland and Wales.

Paul Avery, sales director at suppliers Berryworld UK, said: “The British strawberry crop is in great shape this year and it’s on track to be one of the biggest ever.

“The quality is superb and we’re working hard to bring an iconic piece of summer to the British public.”

Soft fruit exports
(Adam Davy/PA)

Last month was the sunniest April on record for the UK, according to the Met Office, with the Isle of Wight seeing the most sunshine.

The country received an average of 224.5 hours of sunshine during April, comfortably beating the previous record of 211.9 hours set in 2015.

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