Sales of British-grown Tenderstem broccoli are expected to exceed those of imports for the first time after a bumper start to the season.

Growers permitted to produce Tenderstem by UK licence holder Coregeo are predicting a record crop of 1.5 tonnes by the end of the British growing season, which runs from June to November.

According to Coregeo, this represents about 60% of the UK market for the vegetable, which is a cross between Chinese kale and regular broccoli. British crops accounted for just 10% of the UK Tenderstem market in 2010.

Coregeo managing director Andy Macdonald said it was good to see that growers in the UK had been so successful in developing Tenderstem in response to consumer demand.

“Volumes of the British crop have increased by 600% over the past five years,” he added.

Grower Barfoots said it was likely to have an abundance of Tenderstem this summer.

“We want consumers to get busy using it in their summer salads and on the BBQ, where it really comes to life,” added Barfoots business development manager Sophie Bambridge.