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'Support British Growers and stop the tomato shortage' says Sussex farmer as tomato season starts

Amidst shortages across the UK, a tomato grower in Bognor Regis is encouraging shoppers to buy local and support British farmers.

“Buying British produce comes with a lot of benefits. Firstly, it’s more environmentally friendly, as carbon emissions are dramatically reduced in comparison to buying imported varieties. It also helps support local growers and the economy here in the UK,” said Richard Diplock, managing director of The Green House Growers in Sussex, which is based in Bognor Regis.


"British toms are also more tasty as they’re kept on the vine longer. This means they develop as much flavour as possible and are fresher travelling less miles before reaching your plate.”


His call to action comes alongside the start of tomato season here in the UK, which was announced by the British Tomato Growers Association earlier today (Monday, April 17), with the expectation that it will continue until November.


“We’re all guilty of not truly knowing where our food comes from, as this becomes a greater priority for many, it’s not too late to start checking the label to make sure you’re buying British where possible.


“Buying British produce comes with a lot of benefits. Firstly, it’s more environmentally friendly, as carbon emissions are dramatically reduced in comparison to buying imported varieties. It also helps support local growers and the economy here in the UK. British toms are also more tasty as they’re kept on the vine longer. This means they develop as much flavour as possible and are fresher travelling less miles before reaching your plate.”


This year’s shortages, the association said, were caused by bad weather in Europe and Africa, which disrupted supply chains to the UK, prompting some to turn to tomatoes grown closer to home. Although, of course, British tomato growers have endured their own challenges over the last few years, with soaring energy prices, production delays and a labour delay making it harder to push produce out the door.


Regardless, agricultural experts said they were excited to see British tomatoes back on shop shelves. “Our advice is not to store tomatoes in the fridge, cooling tomatoes seriously impairs there delicate flavour profiles and also has an overall detrimental effect on quality,” advised Dr Phil Morley, Technical Executive Officer at The British Tomato Growers’ Association. “Like any fruit, store in the fruit bowl, your tomatoes will last just as long and taste a whole lot better. Fridges do flavours no favours!”


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