Waitrose relaxes strict sprout size standards after disastrous wet weather hit UK harvests

The sprout is never likely to win a fresh produce popularity contest, however the nation should expect to get some particularly ugly ones this Christmas.

Waitrose has decided to relax its size and appearance standards against the background of the disastrous wet weather that has hit UK harvests.

The poor crop ahead of Christmas means Brussels sprouts are around 20per cent more expensive this year than last year, suggesting some home cooks might want to ration them.

However, the move by Waitrose and others means that families need not risk running out of sprouts, albeit they might be a bit bigger or smaller, or carry a few blemishes that will not affect the flavour.

The Brassica Growers Association said the floods earlier this year have hit the harvest and cosmetic appearance of a large amount of home grown produce, including cauliflowers, red and white cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips.

Almost all growers across the UK's brassica-growing heartlands of Scotland, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cornwall have been affected in some way. As a result, there are already shortages of home grown cauliflowers and broccoli.

Waitrose said: 'This year we will be selling sprouts of all shapes and sizes to support growers after an extremely wet autumn.

'We have relaxed size and shape guidelines to make sure as much of the UK crop is available to customers, in turn helping farmers during a particularly difficult time.'

Buyer, Lucy Broughton, said: 'Love them or hate them, Brussels have had a tricky time this year but our farmers have worked incredibly hard to make the best out of a bad spate of weather.

'Whilst they might not be perfect in appearance, the quality and flavour this year is superb and some of the more rough around the edges one will be in our prepared products.'

Source: The Daily Mail