Happy New Spear! Bumper asparagus crop appears three months early
Warmer-than-usual winter temperatures have yielded an extraordinarily early asparagus crop - more than three months before its traditional season.
Staff at Cobrey Farms, near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, were left stunned yesterday after thousands of spears of the gourmet plant were spotted sticking out of the ground before protective polytunnels had even been sealed down.
Chris Chinn, whose family-run farm supplies Marks and Spencer with British Asparagus, took to Twitter to announce news of the unexpected crop, thought to be the earliest on record.
In the last of a series of tweets, featuring a picture of the newly-emerged spears wrapped in tinsel, Mr Chinn wrote: "Don't forget to take your Christmas decorations down today. #britishasparagus #crazyweather #christmas."
Mr Chinn, who has been growing asparagus since 2003 and supplies Marks and Spencer, said: "We went up there yesterday to have a look following the Christmas break and we were amazed to find spears sticking out of the ground.
"Normally a really early crop would be in mid-March and the traditional start of the season is April 23.
"Chefs are already going bonkers on Twitter for it, hoping to receive the first bundle.
"It will go out for the weekend to various chefs around the country who are clamouring for it. I had some of it this morning and it was delightful."