A combination of winter weather and new varieties has seen the UK raspberry crop arrive around two weeks earlier than normal say experts.
The first fruit from greenhouse crops was supplied to Waitrose in late March by long term supplier Harry Hall. The supermarket’s soft fruit buyer Nicki Baggott said; “This is the first time we’ve been able to offer British grown raspberries so early in the year. It’s incredibly unusual to have these ready in March, but a combination of growing techniques and the perfect weather have meant we can sell these juicy delights earlier than ever.”
Laurance Olins from British Summer Fruits explained that new variety Diamond Jubilee, which was bred by Kentish grower Peter Vinson and is available through Berryworld Plus, matures ahead of the variety Tulameen as it needs less chilling in order to fruit. Another variety, Sapphire, is expected to be available from early to mid April.
However, despite this early start, the main outdoor season is expected to start slightly later than normal. “The outdoor raspberry crop arrived mid-May last year. We are expecting to see volumes of outdoor raspberries for the end of May/start of June,” Mr Ollins said, adding that the exact date was weather dependant. “Outdoor crops are currently running 2 weeks behind last year.”