British apricot industry set to have biggest crop ever as the fruit hits Tesco shelves

Tesco is set to see the first of this season’s English apricots from next week as farmers expect the fruit’s largest ever crop since it first began growing in Kent in 2012.

This year, 250 tonnes of apricot’s are set to be harvested, in comparison to 40 tonnes a decade earlier. The fruit which was warned to have unsustainable growth in the UK by agronomists due to the colder climate, has since flourished.

Likely to last throughout the summer and through to mid-September, Britain could be the only place in the world producing apricots so late in the season.

Tesco first partnered with DPS, one of the UK’s largest stone fruit suppliers in 2010 and has since continued to grow its partnerships in the apricot industry.

The Big 4 grocer‘s main apricot supplier, Home Farm near Maidstone, is the UK’s biggest grower of English apricots and is set to produce 136 tonnes this summer.

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“Production has really improved in the last 10 years and we are now far better prepared for the changeable British weather,” Home Farm owner David Moore said.

“Ironically, the cooler British night-time temperature produces very high quality apricots as the fruit grows more slowly.”

“We have had to learn how to combat the effect of frost in the early season growing stages and we now have an insulating crop cover structure to protect the crop from the extremes of the UK climate.”

Tree hybrids bred for cooler climates which would flower later in the spring, has made British apricot production possible. Most of Britain’s apricot trees are placed in farms toward the South of the county where the fruit can see the most sunlight.

“The apricots are grown in the ‘Garden of England’ – an area that produces arguably the best apples, pears, and strawberries in the world because of its gentle slopes and fantastic microclimate,” Tesco stone fruit buyer Maria Katsipi said.

“UK shoppers have a great affinity for British-grown fruit and can’t get enough of these English apricots.”

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