According to Riverford, crops have become so confused by the weather in the south west that they’ve grown too fast and too quickly

Riverford Organic Farmers has seen a boom in UK brassicas following the dry summer and mild autumn weather.

Unlike a raft of other crops that had been impacted by this year’s volatile weather, the organic veg box company said brassicas had benefited from excellent conditions for growth, resulting in bumper crops including giant cabbages, cauliflower, kale and leeks.

According to the business, crops had become so confused by the weather in the south west that they had grown too fast and too quickly, with harvest managers reporting crops “won’t stop growing”.

As a result, crops were all ready to harvest at the same time, in a process called flushing. This has sparked concerns about food waste and fears that consumers will not be able to keep up with huge supply.

“It’s now more important than ever for consumers to support British farmers in buying up the excess stock to help prevent food waste at farm level,” said Ed Scott, assistant harvest manager at Riverford.

“People will need to get used to this type of unpredictable growing and be willing to eat more of what’s in season and to accept veg and fruit that might not look as they should, but are still perfectly good to eat,” he added.

Plants put down long roots to reach moisture during the drought conditions in August and then the mild autumn weather meant they were able to absorb more nutrients, which led to rapid growth.

Scott explained “normally the cold winter weather stalls the growth of the vegetables until the warmth of spring wakes them up and gets them to harvesting size”.

He said that much of the veg was now ready ahead of schedule, leading to concerns about shortages in crops early next year, and whether crops will last until pickers can harvest them.

“I never thought I’d say this, but bring on the snow and ice!”