Despite the longest delay to the British blackcurrant harvest since 1978, growers remain optimistic of a positive season with yields expected to be larger than last year.

The Blackcurrant Foundation says the soft fruit will be of a high quality and that growers are forecasting 12,000 tonnes of fruit. Citing the coolest spring in over three years, coupled with last year's wet summer, which provided excellent soil moisture, the blackcurrant growers' organisation says that plant bushes have been able to double their extension growth.

With blackcurrant bushes needing to experience a period of low winter temperatures in order to achieve a sustained flowering process, the prolonged cold weather at the start of the year, despite delaying the start of the harvest, has left bushes looking 'healthier than ever before'.

The recent hot weather has been welcomed by Jo Hilditch, the chairman of the Blackcurrent Foundation, who says that the sunnier climate will boost brix levels and produce a yield of better-tasting fruit in 2013 following last summer's poor weather. She is expecting an 'excellent crop' this year.

Hilditch explained: “As ever, the blackcurrant growers are entirely dependent on the weather. Last year the harvesting period was very difficult for growers due to the extreme and unusual wet weather – fields were a mess.

'This year bushes are already looking healthier than ever before and we are cautiously anticipating a comparatively excellent crop due to the sunnier and drier conditions forecast.'