vining pea harvest

East Anglia's vining pea harvest started three weeks late

Vining peas have had their latest-ever start to the harvest this year and a proportion of the crop had to remain unharvested, one of the UK’s largest frozen food specialists reports.

Ardo UK sources vining peas across the whole of Suffolk and Norfolk, and its operations director Jim Everest told FPJ: “We usually start on 13-15 June, but we had our latest start to the season on record of 7 July this year. This was driven originally by very cold weather when drilling in March and April. Then we were hit by the hot spell and were chasing our tails operating the factory 24 hours a day, seven days a week .”

The high temperatures meant that peas across the different growing areas reached the right quality point for harvesting very quickly, posing a logistical challenge to have machinery in the right fields at the right time to gather the crop. The harvest also finished earlier than usual; in mid-August in East Anglia.

Everest added: “We had to bypass some of the crop as you have to take it at the right time at the right grade.”

Ardo UK calculates that this will cause a shortfall in its output of some 14 per cent. However, higher yields per acre this season than last have helped compensate for the loss and Everset insists that quality is also high. Despite the shortfall in output, Ardo UK claims that supplies to customers will not be affected.