Reports suggest that a number of growers are now opening their fields to the public rather than see produce, which they cannot get picked due to a lack of labour, rot in the fields.
According to the BBC, York-based raspberry grower Richard Morritt threw his gates open to the public after failing to attract staff.
At the same time, Spalding-based cabbage grower Simon Naylor told journalists that despite doubling pay rates, he was struggling to attract workers. “It’s a prime vegetable area, but getting people here, that’s another thing,” he said.
Elsewhere, Andrew Faichney, Managing Director of East of Scotland Growers (ESG) wrote in a blog post, “”The inevitable flush of crop occurred this month and we have had some pretty devastating losses; on the 1 August, we were cutting crops that were due to be harvested on the 11 July, and by 15 August, we were harvesting crops due a week later. We had 6 weeks’ worth of crop, that typically have a 5-to-7-day shelf life, ripen over a two-week period,” he continued.
“Broccoli and cauliflower are both perishable crops and we simply could not keep up with the harvest with the workforce that we have… Our losses to date are somewhere in the region of 2,500,000 heads of broccoli and 1,500,000 heads of cauliflower – half of which will have been harvested then dumped out of store, with the other half being ploughed in.
“Ignoring harvesting, haulage, and packaging, this carries a direct growing cost of somewhere in the region of £1.1m. This cost will continue to rise as we go through this week until the freezing of our crops can begin,” he explained.
He also said that the shortage of lorry drivers was limiting the company’s ability to supply its freezing and processing customers.
Photo Caption: ESG said it is struggling to pick crops of broccoli and cauliflower.