The UK is revving up for a strong cherry season, with around 6,000 tonnes of home-grown British fruit predicted to hit supermarket shelves this year.

Consumers will be able to buy home-grown cherries from the end of June, with this year’s British harvest expected to begin a week earlier than in 2019 thanks to crops coming on slightly faster through this year’s warm spring.

The figures, which broadly match last year’s bumper harvest, come from trade body Love Fresh Cherries, which covers both domestic and imported fruit. The group is predicting good availability for both retailers and consumers throughout the British cherry season.

Favourable conditions over the winter months have led growers to anticipate not just a sizable crop, but a high-quality one across most varieties. Despite the unusually warm weather in spring, a few late frosts in May are expected to have an impact, particularly on the Kordia variety.

Spokesman Matt Hancock said: “There has been a well-publicised cherry shortage across Europe this year. So, with all signs showing an extremely healthy British crop forecast, it means not only can we supply the retailers and consumers of the UK, but all over Europe as well, allowing us to remain competitive in the global market.

“It is now down to the weather in late June and July as to whether we can realise this estimate, but all indications are positive for a strong British cherry season.”

Love Fresh Cherries also stressed that despite the challenges of Covid-19 growers are in a positive frame of mind over picker availability and have already seen a strong public response to the call for action for local pickers across the industry.