Fruitful weather

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  • Fruitful weather
    20.05.2011 07:24

     

    Spring has seen the earliest start to the strawberry season in approximately 20 years, and this year is expected to see the biggest English strawberry crop in approximately two decades.

    This is due to the warm weather during the early part of the spring, which also resulted in increased sugar levels and therefore a much sweeter and juicier crop than normal. Plenty of sunshine during the spring period so far has helped the fruit to set and encouraged bees to pollinate the plants, further improving this year’s yield.

    This April was the UK’s warmest on record, with a Central England Temperature, which averages day and night temperatures, of 11.9C. With the May temperature expected to be just above average, and with the above average value in March, spring as a whole is going to be close to the warmest on record.

    At the moment 1893 stands as the warmest spring with a CET of 10.2C, and spring 2011 should come close to that despite some chillier days, particularly midweek next week.

    This week’s crop sent to supermarkets is expected to be four times that of the same week in 2010, the largest ever sent at this time of year. With this early and bumper crop of strawberries, supermarkets are cutting foreign imports and stacking the shelves with far more home-grown produce, which benefits local industry and also helps to keep the purchasing price down.

    Some may be concerned that with an abundant supply of top quality, sweeter English strawberries so early on in the year, those of the quality usually associated with the Wimbledon fortnight, there may not be any left for the big event.

    However, some experts assure us that the geographical spread of strawberry growing in the UK will result in a steady supply until October. As long as the summer is not cold, many farmers are expecting to see a bumper crop this year.

    However, the dry weather experienced in parts of the UK this spring is causing increasing concern for many farmers, with some potato growers worried of a total wipe out of this year’s crop, which suffers in dry conditions.

    By: Alison Cobb