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Salad Days Drowned: Historic Rainfall Leaves UK Growers Struggling

The UK is experiencing its wettest period in nearly 25 years, and the impact on the nation's salad bowl is significant. G's Fresh, a leading salad producer with roots in East Anglia and farms spanning the country, is feeling the strain.

Peter Sargeant, managing director of G's Fresh Norfolk site, paints a bleak picture. "The challenges around weather and its impact and the extremities we're seeing, gives us more of a challenge," he laments. The relentless rain has made it difficult to plant crops, especially lettuce and celery, which are typicallysown in early spring.

The knock-on effect on sales is substantial. "I would say the real challenge has been not having the weather through May and June, which I would say accounts for about 50% of our summer sales," Sargeant reveals in an interview with Radio 4's Farming Today programme. The usual spike in demand that accompanies warm, sunny weather has failed to materialise.

G's Fresh isn't alone in its struggle. William Gribbon, manager of Heygate Farms in Swaffham, Norfolk, reports that last year's rainfall exceeded 41 inches, leaving the land saturated. "It's costing us more money every year to produce a crop of potatoes and we are reliant on the weather to do that as well," Gribbon explains.

The escalating costs of fertiliser and chemicals further exacerbate the situation, adding a significant financial risk to growing crops.

As the rain continues to fall, the UK's salad producers are left grappling with unprecedented challenges. The hope for drier days remains, but for now, the salad days seem to be drowning in the deluge.


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