The UK heatwave has produced a glut in strawberry, cherry and blueberry harvests prompting a wave of reductions in shops and decrease costs for British farmers.
Strawberry farmers mentioned they have been selecting as a lot as 30% extra fruit than common, and blueberry growers a minimum of 50% extra this week as temperatures topped 40C on Tuesday in some components of England. Yields are anticipated to be double that of the identical week final 12 months within the week forward. Blackberry harvests are anticipated to be up 80% on the identical time final 12 months this week in line with the British Berry Growers affiliation.
English cherry harvests have additionally been introduced ahead by a few fortnight by the warmth, catching out supermarkets who had ordered in cheaper fruit from Spain, Turkey and elsewhere to cowl this week and inflicting a glut in shops.
Excessive scorching climate throughout a big swathe of England on Monday and Tuesday prompted many consumers to avoid shops, including to overstock.
Tesco mentioned it was promoting kilo containers of cherries for £5 this week after agreeing to take surplus inventory off British growers. Its common 400g punnets promote at £3. Sainsbury’s has 800g punnets of strawberries for £3 this week and Morrisons is promoting 650g for £2.69.
Strawberry grower Alastair Brooks, managing director of Langdon Manor Farm close to Faversham in Kent, mentioned: “It has been probably the most great 12 months for delicate fruit with a lot of sunshine.
“Strawberries and cherries have come ahead fairly shortly. It has been heat this week. Usually when there was heat climate demand rises however this time it has been extraordinarily heat and provide has outstripped demand.”
He mentioned the nice and cozy nights had inspired strawberries to ripen sooner than common making it troublesome to maintain up with selecting, particularly as staff had been on diminished hours on some days this week due to the intense warmth.
Harry Corridor, managing companion of Corridor Hunter Partnership which grows strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries on farms in Berkshire and Surrey, mentioned: “It has been the definition of utmost. Final 12 months we had the coldest April on file, this 12 months it’s the hottest July. You’ve got to be so resilient and sturdy to maintain issues going like by no means earlier than,” he mentioned. “The climate is unquestionably getting extra excessive and you must be prepared for something.”
He mentioned the group’s farms have been selecting between 40 tonnes and 50 tonnes of blueberries a day, once they would normally be selecting between 25 tonnes and 30 tonnes a day at the moment of 12 months.
His groups have been additionally harvesting as much as 350 tonnes of strawberries this week, up from a median 250 tonnes. “It has put a whole lot of stress on selecting and packing,” he mentioned, with further shifts added in order that the pack home is now working 24 hours a day.
He mentioned many supermarkets had switched to promoting bigger than common 1kg or 650g punnets, up from the standard 400g, to clear the inventory.
Cherry farmers mentioned the glut in fruit meant decrease costs for his or her crops as the sooner harvest had meant they have been competing with low-cost imports at a time when prices, together with vitality and gas costs and staff’ wages, had all gone up.
One cherry farmer mentioned: “Now we have had a very good rising season however there have been an enormous quantity of imports from Spain and that usually doesn’t have an effect on us.”
Simon Wells, a cherry grower primarily based in Herefordshire, who harvests later than growers in Kent and the Midlands, mentioned: “There was an enormous quantity coming off English farms as we had low-cost imports from Spain and Bulgaria.” He mentioned supermarkets weren’t paying extra for cherries regardless of a surge in prices due to extra competitors from imports.
“Plenty of offers have been completed 9 months or a 12 months in the past and there’s a plan at that fastened value and that doesn’t assist us in an inflationary setting,” he mentioned.