New Covent Garden Market cherries

British Cherries says 2019’s crop should produce 6,500 tonnes of fruit

British cherry growers have estimated their harvest will be almost double the tonnage of last year’s thanks to more weather-resistant cherries.

This year’s crop is predicted to produce 6,500 tonnes of cherries between now and September, compared with 2018’s output of 3,233 tonnes.

Growers made a similar forecast last year when they said they expected a 5,000-tonne harvest. However, the crop only managed to produce around two-thirds of that figure due to extreme weather placing “stress on trees”.  

British Cherries said the boost was down to a “favourable dormancy” in winter and “almost no negative impact” from spring rains. The trade body promised a “good fruit size” for most varieties.

It means the sector expects to have a surplus of 10%-20%, which will be exported, according to figures from British Cherries. However, it added that prices would be similar to last year due to “advances in technology” allowing the industry to “remain competitive in the global market”.

“Cherries not only taste great, but they also offer fantastic health benefits and so it’s good news that they are available in abundance this summer,” said British Cherries spokesman Matt Hancock.

“Innovations in our industry have meant that we are able to meet the increasing consumer demand for this delicious fruit.

“The long-term investments in new varieties, root stocks, covers and optical grading capacity across the industry over the last decade is starting to make a real impact on the reliability of this once-incredible volatile crop.”