Flood of cherries on supermarket shelves after heatwave saves supplies

A flood of juicy cherries is expected to hit the UK market from Wednesday after the July heat wave resulted in a bumper harvest.

Producers hail a massive yield of sweet stone fruit after an unusual cold and sluggish spring rains that threatened to hamper this year’s production.

Most of the sudden influx of offers came from Kent, traditionally the UK’s main cherry-growing area.

With a sudden glut of cherries on the cards, the supermarket chain Tesco took in an additional 115 tonnes to keep them from going to waste.

Cherry tree
The industry came back from a crisis about 20 years ago (Chris Radburn / PA)

“Over the next two to three weeks the UK will receive an abundance of super sweet classic British cherries.

“This is a stark contrast to what we experienced in April and May which, due to the unusual weather, resulted in a much colder start to the cherry growing season than usual.

“This meant that the cherry trees were dormant longer and postponed the start of the season for up to three weeks, but helped the trees develop energy and potential, which allowed the high quality fruit to grow. pass now. “

This year, UK growers are expected to produce just over 6,000 tonnes of cherries, nearly double the UK’s total cherry harvest in 2018.

And compared to the relatively small 559 tonnes that were plucked in 2005, it shows just how much of a revival has come in such a short time.

People enjoying the time on a beach
The scorching July weather saved this year’s crop (Peter Byrne / PA)

High production costs at the turn of the century and the increasing availability of cheaper imports affected the livelihoods of many British cherry growers.

Tesco stone fruit buyer Callum Baker said: “The good news for cherry lovers is that the fruits will be plump and very sweet because they stay dormant longer and generate more energy during the spring. cold.

“We’d rather see consistent production across the UK than have a massive harvest like this, but when that happens we can step in, use our scale for good and help growers, with customers being the backbone. ultimate winners. “

The production of cherries in the UK is so strong that Tesco no longer needs to import them from overseas during the UK season.

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