Cauliflower harvest: 500,000 surplus after Christmas delay

Half a million cauliflowers that flowered too late for Christmas are finally being harvested after some of the worst growing conditions for years.

UK retailers had to sell French and Spanish imports to meet festive demand amid a shortage caused by mild weather.

Grower TH Clements, based near Spalding in Lincolnshire, now has 500,000 surplus vegetables ready to eat.

Supermarket Tesco has agreed to sell them for a reduced price for the next two weeks.

Richard Mowbray, commercial director at TH Clements, said: "We had some of the worst growing conditions for many years and it's hit us really hard as we missed out on the big Christmas market.

"The cauliflower is a cool weather vegetable and the season started badly in August and September as we didn't get any cold nights, which are important for growth.

"The plants did not flower at the right time, which is the end of October and beginning of November.

"Instead they started flowering in December meaning they were a month behind schedule."

He said the deal with Tesco had prevented many of the brassicas going to waste.

Tesco produce buying manager Sam Miller said: "Cauliflower is one of the festive vegetables that is extremely popular with Christmas dinner and as a result we order much more for December.

"Back in November we heard that our suppliers were not going to be able to meet our orders as a result of the crop failure causing severe issues across the whole UK market.

"But the good news is that a bumper crop of British cauliflowers are now ready to go, and we were delighted to help make sure they don't go to waste."

Source: BBC News