The news means that this year shoppers will be able to enjoy UK strawberries for an extended season of around nine months. Traditionally the first British strawberries of the year are grown in the warmer climates of Kent, Sussex or Wales, but for the first time ever, they will come from Lancashire. Tesco’s strawberry buyer Henry Maulik said: “This brilliant but rare opportunity for customers to enjoy English strawberries so early in the year, is great news for shoppers.
“Helped by the recent warmer temperatures, this is the first time in ages that UK strawberries grown for supermarkets have been picked in February. Regarded as some of the best in the world, British strawberries tend to be sweeter, juicier and softer than those grown in other countries. The arrival of the first English strawberries marks the start of the UK fruit season, and is a great indicator that spring is just around the corner.”
The Lancashire strawberries were grown by one of the county’s largest berry producers, Medlar Fruit Farms, a family run business who are based in Kirkham. Tesco’s early season glasshouse variety which will be on sale next week is called Driscoll’s Lusa and has been specially selected for its consistent high quality, aromatic flavour and sweet taste. Medlar managing director Steve Bell said: “We’re pleased to have been able to put Lancashire well and truly on the map for strawberries. The Driscoll’s Lusa variety are hugely popular with customers because of their fantastic flavour. We’ve been working with Tesco to extend the British season, so that shoppers can enjoy them for even longer.”
The traditional British strawberry season runs from May to September but now it can last for up to nine months. Medlar Fruit Farms are expecting to grow strawberries until mid- November.
Next week Tesco will also be stocking strawberries grown by one of its Welsh growers, S&A Produce, based in Herefordshire.