Retailers stocking fresh produce can expect a good harvest of raspberries after the country witnessed hottest June on record, industry group British Berry Growers has said.
Nick Marston, chairman of British Berry Growers, which represents 95 per cent of berries supplied to UK supermarkets, stated that a break in record hot June weather has given way to warm conditions under partial cloud cover – ideal for the gradual ripening of raspberries.
“This enables the fruit to grow particularly large and juicy with bumper crops forecast throughout July. Raspberries continue to be a favourite among Brits and their versatility makes them a staple in many households. Advanced cultivation techniques means that British raspberries should available on supermarket shelves well into November and even maybe December.
“That’s brilliant news for consumers, local farmers and the UK economy,” reports quoted Marston as saying.
Raspberries thrive in warm and shady environments. They benefit from consistent temperatures and partial cloud cover, which was lacking in June, to ripen. A return to average temperatures and mixed spells forecast throughout July created ideal conditions for the fruit to steadily ripen, creating particularly large and juicy raspberries.
The berry industry is now worth £1.7 billion in retail sales year-round and is estimated to contribute £3.18 billion to the UK economy over the next five years. Fresh berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – continue to be the most popular fruit item in shoppers’ baskets, making up 28 per cent of all fruit sold in the UK, according to analysts Kantar.
It was reported last month that strawberry season arrived slightly late in the country this year but the fruit are bigger and sweeter than previous years. According to the association, cooler spring weather had resulted in a slower ripening period, with fruit arriving on shop shelves around a month later than last year’s first harvests.
However, the longer growing time had produced larger berries than last year, while the recent sunny days and cooler nights had boosted their sugar content, making them sweeter and juicier.