Heavy June rains have had little impact on the start of the British cherry season according to growers, with a strong crop forecast.
UK growers predict around 6,500 tonnes of cherries to hit the shelves this year, more than double the 3,233 tonnes picked in 2018 following a poor growing season last year.
A favourable dormancy during the winter months means the cherries will be a tasty crop with a good size across most varieties, according to Love Fresh Cherries.
With the category in high demand, Matt Hancock, British cherries spokesperson, said cherries are now benefitting from years of planned investment to improve quality and expand the season.
“Cherries not only taste great, but they also offer fantastic health benefits and so it’s good news that they are available in abundance this summer. Innovations in our industry have meant that we are able to meet the increasing consumer demand for this delicious fruit," Hancock said.
“The long-term investments in new varieties, root stocks, covers and optical grading capacity across the industry over the last decade is starting to make a real impact on the reliability of this once incredibly volatile crop. This allows retailers and consumers to enjoy our home grown product year in year out and feature British cherries in the knowledge there will be a crop to shout about.”
The industry is also promoting the health benefits of cherries, which contain high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants and melatonin, helping improve mood and promote healthy sleep patterns, as well as providing protections against colds.
According to Love Fresh Cherries, one in four Brits consider cherries as a treat, similar to wine or chocolate, seen as a reward after a day’s work.
Dr Emma Derbyshire, British Summer Fruits’ public health nutritionist, explained: "Cherries are a great healthy, snack that offer an abundant source of vitamins, minerals and phyto (plant) nutrients which have been linked to a diverse range of health benefits. Imperial research has highlighted that we need to strive for ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day to lower chronic disease risk. Snacking on punnets of cherries this summer is a great and easy way to boost our fruit intake."