Hereford & Worcester

'Four times' as many Herefordshire strawberries as 2010

Seasonal fruit growers
Image caption Seasonal workers at Windmill Farm have had four times as many strawberries to pick

A Herefordshire farmer has found this season's strawberry crop is four times as big as last year's so far.

Anthony Snell, from Windmill Farm at Harewood End, said the cold winter and warm spring had meant an early crop.

He said: "We've had fantastic weather in April and very good light levels in May and we're a good two weeks earlier in the picking than normal."

Laurence Olins, chairman of British Summer Fruits, said this reflected the situation for UK strawberry growers.

He said: "The whole country is two weeks early - like for like we are four times up this year as last year."

Mr Olins said the recent dry spell did not affect strawberry crops.

He said: "The difference between strawberry and arable farmers is we grow crops which are irrigated and take water from our reservoirs so we are not short of water.

"All our fruit is drip-irrigated so each plant gets fed through a drip going straight into its roots - we are very efficient and not affected by the drought."

Tim Gilbert from Court farm in Tillington near Hereford has had a similar experience so far this year: "It's been a very early start beginning in early May so they're two to three weeks early.

"It's been better than last year because of the warm weather which also means more customers - there's certainly no shortage of strawberries."

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