Tesco to sell strawberries for nine months a year

Tesco shoppers might soon be able to buy strawberries for three-quarters of the year thanks to a Sussex supplier.

The Arundel-based fruit grower stacks strawberry beds and controls the conditions in its greenhouse, a process known as vertical farming.

The technique supposedly yields five times more than normal farming while reducing its carbon footprint by 90 per cent and halving water use.

Wholesaler Direct Produce Supplies (DPS) is selling 1000 tonnes of the strawberries to Tesco.

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“Vertical farming offers growers a protected environment that requires significantly less land, water and energy,” DPS chief executive Paul Benyon claimed.

“In the future we believe that we can make even further advances in sustainable strawberry production and that other fruit crops could take to the system.”

Strawberries are normally on shelves from May to October, up from just six weeks 25 years ago.

However, crop yields are often threatened by poor weather.

“Vertical farming will put an end to that uncertainty and ensure perfect growing conditions during an extended nine-month season,” Tesco fruit manager Sabina Wyant said.

Last month, the Big 4 grocer bought an extra 400 tonnes of strawberries after a summer heatwave left growers with unsold fruit.

“Thanks to Tesco, any surplus British strawberries won’t go to waste,” strawberry grower Alastair Brooks said.

Supermarkets

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