Bumper British apricot harvest set to hit market

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Britons will soon see the first of this season’s English apricots as farmers expect the fruit’s largest ever crop since it first began growing in Kent in 2012.

This year, 250 tonnes of apricot’s are set to be harvested, in comparison to 40 tonnes a decade earlier, The Telegraph reported, adding that the supply is likely to last throughout the summer and through to mid-September, Britain could be the only place in the world producing apricots so late in the season.

Earlier, apricot production in the country was not thought possible because of the cooler climate. However, tree hybrids bred especially for cooler climates which would flower later in the spring – has made British apricot production possible.

Apricot trees still need a lot of sunshine and as a result, all the production at the moment is in the southern counties of England, with growers mainly in Kent and one on the Isle of Wight.

“Production has really improved in the last 10 years and we are now far better prepared for the changeable British weather,” the report quoted David Moore, owner of Home Farm near Maidstone, is now the UK’s biggest grower of English apricots, and Tesco’s main supplier, as saying.

“Ironically, the cooler British night-time temperature produces very high-quality apricots as the fruit grows more slowly, resulting in a more intense and sweet taste plus a stronger, richer colour than imported varieties from France and Portugal.

“In the last 10 years we’ve learned about understanding the light needs of fruit ripening for these new varieties and so we have adopted our pruning style to maximise the amount of light reaching the fruit-bearing parts of the tree.