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Strawberry season arrives late but, with bigger berries, it's worth the wait

The British strawberry season has arrived slightly late but the fruit will be bigger and sweeter than previous years, according to growers.

British Berry Growers said the cooler spring weather had resulted in a slower ripening period, with fruit arriving on shop shelves around a month later than last year's first harvests.

However, the longer growing time had produced larger berries than last year, while the recent sunny days and cooler nights had boosted their sugar content, making them sweeter and juicier.

Cooler nights allow strawberry plants to rest well and put their energy gained from the day into producing high natural sugars at night.

From March until mid-May, British strawberries are grown in glasshouses before moving to poly-tunnels between May and September, and then returning to glasshouses in October.

British strawberry production is expected to hit its peak in around the third and fourth weeks of June.

Over the last 12 months shoppers spent £778million on strawberries, according to analysts Kantar.

The slightly later season this year means British strawberries will be in their prime for Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, and Henley Royal Regatta.

Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries make up the biggest market share (28 per cent) of all fruit sold in the UK, boosting the value of the UK berry industry to an all-time high of £1.7billion.

Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers, which represents 95 per cent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets, said: 'Our strawberry crop has arrived a little later this year but the good news is that they are well worth the wait.

'Cooler spring weather means that strawberries have ripened a little more slowly which allows them to grow particularly large, and the recent bright weather has boosted their sugar content, ensuring they're incredibly sweet-tasting too.

'Advanced growing techniques now mean we produce fresh British strawberries from May right through to October.

'That's great news for UK shoppers and it means big business for the UK economy too.'


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