Love Fresh Cherries, Britain's largest trade body for homegrown and imported cherries, says a strong season is on the horizon, with 6,000 tonnes expected to hit supermarket shelves this year.
From the end of June, consumers will be able to buy cherries as harvest begins a week earlier courtesy of a warm spring. Favourable conditions over winter months also should ensure a high-quality product for most varieties, according to Love Fresh Cherries. The number mirrors last year’s bumper crop. “There has been a well-publicised cherry shortage across Europe this year," says Matt Hancock, Love Fresh Cherries spokesperson. "So, with all signs showing an extremely healthy British crop forecast, it means not only can we supply the retailers and consumers of the UK, but all over Europe as well, allowing us to remain competitive in the global market."
Despite the unusually warm weather in spring, a few late frosts in May are expected to have an impact, particularly on the Kordia variety.
“It is now down to the weather in late June and July as to whether we can realise this estimate, but all indications are positive for a strong British cherry season," Hancock said. Love Fresh Cherries offers up this guide to cherry varieties:
Merchant - one of the earliest cherries to ripen. The fruit is large, sweet, and dark-red, with a good flavour
Sunburst - large dark fruit, with a rich cherry flavour
Stella - medium sized so good for smaller members of the family. The dark-red fruit is very sweet and juicy• Skeena - produces very large fruit with a good flavour
Regina - large dark fruit that has a firm texture
Kordia - mid-season cherry that is medium-large in size, has firm flesh and a good flavour.
Lapins - starts the second half of the season and has large dark-red/black juicy fruits with dark flesh
Sweetheart - as its name suggests, produces cherries that are predominantly sweet but they are not sugary to taste. Sweetheart ripens towards the end of the British cherry season
Penny - outstanding quality and is the latest cherry to ripen. Penny is a black cherry that is large, firm and very sweet to eat