Photo courtesy of Tesco

First batch of strawberries make it through the rain, head for Tesco’s produce aisles

Produce Business report

The first wave of commercial strawberries have finally found their way to retailer Tesco, after a long rainy start to the year in the UK.

Rising temperatures and increasing sun have lifted the doldrums on Britain staple spring and early summer fruit. And it won’t be long before they get their due at the signature Grand Slam tennis event.

“There’s nothing like the start of the British strawberry season to put a smile on people’s faces, especially after all the rain we’ve had for so long now,” said Callum Baker, Tesco buyer. “There is always a lot of excitement about the first British strawberries being picked because their arrival means that summer is not too far away. And of course there is with plenty to look forward to with such a summer of sport ahead, including Wimbledon, the event most associated with strawberries.

More than 150 tonnes of fruit, or 375,000 punnets, have already been sent to Tesco outlets nationwide. They arrived in West and East Sussex late last week and will be distributed other areas in the next week or so, weather pending.

“If the weather stays relatively good from now then we’ll seen UK-wide availability of British grown strawberries by mid-May but obviously if temperatures rise a bit and we get more sunshine then that could come sooner,” Baker said.

Consumers can expect this year’s strawberries which are Malling Centenary to be bright and juicy, with not as much crunch as others, according to Tesco. They are grown by Summer Berry Company in Colworth, near Chichester and supplied to Tesco by DPS.

“This year so far is a good example – temperatures are higher on average than in the last five years, but light levels are lower than last five year average,” Summer Berry Commercial Director Jack Darnes said. “We’ve seen some crops come earlier, but with that has resulted in a lower brix or sugar level at the start. Things are more stable now, we have not necessarily seen a big flush of fruit when the sun comes out, as temps have been relatively stable.”



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