Sunday 22 October 2017

Christmas sprout shortage warning

Britain could face a Christmas sprout shortage if the freezing weather continues, a grower warned
Britain could face a Christmas sprout shortage if the freezing weather continues, a grower warned

Britain could face a Christmas sprout shortage if the freezing weather continues, one of the country's leading growers warned.

Chris Gedney, managing director of TH Clements & Son, said the British sprout industry would be "devastated" if the frost prevents it from getting its harvest out before Christmas.

He said: "If the icy weather continues it's going to be very difficult for us to get our produce out."

Gedney added: "There are lots of vegetables that will be short, including Brussels sprouts, if the bad weather continues in the same vein."

Sprouts are worth £54 million to the British economy but around 67% are harvested in the run-up to Christmas.

"People don't want to know the rest of the year," Mr Gedney said. "There's a big risk if the weather continues we will miss our window of opportunity for harvesting."

Exceptionally hot weather over the summer damaged sprout production earlier in the year, The Grocer magazine reported. The cauliflower harvest is already being seriously affected because the main growing counties of Lincolnshire, Kent and Cornwall are suffering from frost.

"Over the next week to 10 days, we will be very, very short," Mr Gedney said.

He vowed that the British producers would "plough on" to get the harvest out in time, and said: "We've never been unable to deliver a Christmas yet but this will a very testing year if the weather continues as it is."

Bad weather in Britain could allow Dutch farmers to "capture the market", he said.

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