British berries will be ‘sweeter than ever’ this year thanks to a warmer-than-usual spring, producers claim
- Berries thrived during the warm temperatures seen across Britain in April
- Farmers are hoping for a bumper crop at harvest time with ultra-sweet berries
- Berries are graded on sweetness using the Brix scale which measures the concentration of dissolved sucrose in the fruit
This year’s warm spring is expected to lead to a bumper crop of ultra-sweet berries, according to one of Britain’s leading producers.
Warm temperatures in April led to perfect growing conditions for berries and is likely to lead to one of the sweetest and most succulent harvests in recent memory.
Berry Gardens, the nation’s leading producer of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, grades its crops based on the concentration of natural sugars.
This so-called Brix scale detects how much sucrose, a sugar produced by the plant via photosynthesis, is in each bite.
Average strawberries score seven on this scale, but due to the favourable climate this is likely to edge up to around 8/8.5.
Berry Gardens told MailOnline that their Zara and Katrina varieties of strawberries normally receive a grade of 8/8.5, but this is likely to soar to around 9.5 this year.
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Warm temperatures in April led to perfect growing conditions for berries and is likely to lead to one of the sweetest and most succulent harvests in recent memory (stock)
Berries are normally picked at the end of summer, between July and September, depending on the fruit.
However, environmental conditions in Spring have a dramatic impact on how tasty the berries are.
During warm weather, photosynthesis is ramped up and the production of sucrose increases.
This makes the berries taste extremely sweet and 2020 may be one of the best harvests on record due to the April heatwave.
Data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) published last month revealed April was on course to be the joint-warmest April on record.
The Prince of Wales has called on ‘pickers who are stickers’ to join a national effort to help farmers with the ‘unglamorous’ job of harvesting fruit and vegetables.
Charles backed the Government’s initiative to bring UK workers and farmers together to ensure crops are not left to rot in the ground during the coronavirus outbreak.
He likened the ‘vital’ project to the Women’s Land Army, which helped boost Britain’s food production during the Second World War.
The prince, who runs an organic farm at his home in Gloucestershire, recorded a video in the vegetable garden of his Scottish home.
In the clip, to be posted on the Clarence House social media channels later, he says: ‘Food does not happen by magic, it all begins with our remarkable farmers and growers.
Temperatures were above average over northern and central Eurasia, and parts of Greenland and Antarctica, but below average over large parts of North America.
In Europe, temperatures were well above average in a number of western countries, but below average in the northeast.
On April 19 the Met Office recorded a temperature of 29.1C (84.4F) in London, the UK’s hottest April temperature since 1949.
The scale is used to measure how much of a soluble solid is dissolved in a liquid and is applied to detecting levels of sugar in fruit and juices.
Anthony Snell and his wife Christine have been growing soft fruit for two decades and are expecting a bumper crop this summer.
Their farm grows 1,000 tonnes of premium strawberries and more than 300 tonnes of raspberries, alongside blackberries and blueberries.
He is also a Board Director at Berry Gardens and Chairman of the National Farmer’s Union West Midlands Horticulture Board.
He said: ‘[Sugar] levels have been quite a bit higher this year. We got the planting in at the right time and we had a warmer April so the plants have grown really well.
‘We are very impressed by the quality and flavour of the strawberries at the moment.
‘Last year was a bit of a cool spring but this year has been a nice warm Spring so we are at a better quality.’
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