It’s time to dust off your pie dishes and jam pans-Britain is officially awash with summer fruit. Producers across the country are enjoying their best harvest for 20 years, with growers in Kent and Herefordshire bringing in 3,000 tons of cherries almost eight times as much fruit as was harvested in 2000, according to Defra. Experts are attributing this year’s larger yield to new, more space-efficient varieties of cherry tree (which are easier to net and pick from), and a moderate climate.
Raspberry and strawberry growers have also had a bumper season, respectively harvesting double and quadruple the amount of fruit in their first week as they did in 2010. However, this certainly isn’t a case of quantity at the expense of quality. ‘April and May’s uncharacteristically warm weather, the lack of frosts and good pollination mean that this year’s strawberry and raspberry crops were not only early, but the fruit is sweeter and juicer, too,’ explains Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits.
Elsewhere, cantaloupes and watermelons grown in Lichfield, Staffordshire, will soon be hitting the shelves in Marks & Spencer, and Britain’s first commercial kiwi crop is flourishing near Canterbury on Mediterranean vines. Growers with more fruit on their hands than they know what to do with can register with Fruitshare (www.fruitshare.net). The website, which launched in 2009, allows orchard owners interested in sharing a surplus to post the details of their crop online.
to Country Life and save up to £50