British plums have arrived at Waitrose two weeks early thanks to recent warm temperatures with the retailer pitching them as the ideal summer fruit.
Grown in Gloucestershire by Castle Fruit Farms, Waitrose said the new arrivals are also the earliest British plums have ever been sold by a supermarket thanks to “near perfect” growing conditions.
The first fruit will be stocked at five Waitrose stores, and will be in all Waitrose branches by 20 July.
Fruit buyer Tim Stevens said: "British berries and cherries maybe the pin-up fruits at this time of year but plums should get more love.
"There's no reason, this weekend, you shouldn't support this underdog British fruit by tucking into plums and cream when watching the tennis."
The first plum variety to arrive is the purple-skinned Herman, Waitrose said, with an additional seven British varieties expected to be sold later on this summer, including Opal, Reeves Seedling, Victoria, and Marjorie Seedling.
Stevens added: "Seeing a crop arrive two weeks early is a huge deal and shows just how good the weather has been for plums. You'd normally see changes of only a few days each season for any fruit, so two weeks is like two years in fruit farming."
Grower Michael Bentley said: "The first plums we pick are from the tops of the trees, where the fruit has access to the most sun. The Herman variety has a very small stone that falls easily away from the flesh, making it fuss free to eat."
Awareness and popularity of plums is growing every year, according to Waitrose, with sales last year rising by 137 per cent when British varieties came into season.
Online recipes are particular popular and a recipe for a plum traybake has seen web searches increase by 78 per cent this week versus last year as shoppers anticipate the fruit's return.