Wet summer misery yields bumper Brussels Sprouts harvest

Plump, green and lush. In the winter sunshine, the sprouts on Sandy Lane Farm near Thame look almost exotic.

In fact, the sprouts yield has doubled compared to last year.

“At least 50% extra, probably", organic farmer George Bennett told ITV Meridian,

"The same number of plants, but just bigger sprouts, more success on each plant in a really good year. The sprout quality is amazing."

There isn't likely to be a 'sprout panic' this Christmas - and growers say it’s all down to this summer’s weather.

The wet and lack of sunshine created the perfect conditions for brassicas like sprouts - even if it was no good for staycationers.

While so many of us love our sprouts, those who don’t may be able to blame our parents. Sprouts contain a chemical which only tastes bitter to people with a specific genetic variation.

According to some rather informal statistics gathered by the ONS in 2018, around 750 million individual Brussels sprouts are sold by supermarkets at Christmas time. But, in an indication of their divisive nature, it’s estimated only half actually ever get eaten.

Getting sprouts ready to harvest at exactly the right time is crucial, as 25% of them are bought in the two weeks leading up to Christmas - and this year, the bumper harvest is helping.

Farm shop manager Cate Bennett said: “It means that we can go towards Christmas with great certainty that we've got enough sprouts for everybody and avoid a sprout panic, which has happened in years gone by when we've worried that we wouldn't have enough.

"But this year, we're really confident that we've got plenty.”

And if you’re one of the many who isn’t so partial to a sprout, this year has also been a whopper for other brassicas - producers say cabbage, kale, cavolo nero and broccoli have all done well too.

Source: ITV News