The “earliest ever” crop of British asparagus has gone on sale in selected Marks & Spencer stores.

Grower John Chinn said this year’s crop was being made available more than a month earlier than the traditional season, and had been made possible by a new, ‘early’ variety cultivated in polytunnels.

The first bunches went on sale last week at M&S’s Marble Arch store (£3/100g asparagus tips).

A more widespread supply will roll out to M&S stores throughout March from protected crops, with open-field asparagus expected to hit shelves by early April.

“We want to drive the British asparagus industry forwards and do this in the most sustainable, natural way,” said Chinn.