New dark red varieties help boost confidence in the future English cherry growers are enjoying a bumper season. And they are already beginning to benefit from the introduction of new, bolder, dark red varieties from sources such as Washington State, Canada and even Czechoslovakia, as well as some new English ones, according to William Wakeley, chairman of the Kent Cherry and Soft Fruit Show. This year's event recorded one of the highest cherry entries for many years, and the county now accounts for more than 80% of the national crop. There is also a trend for growers to be more interested in late varieties such as Sweetheart which can be picked in July and August when there is less competition from Turkey. But while English growers have been planting smaller trees for easy picking and netting the crop against bird and wind damage, the French are also expecting a resurgence, although bad weather this summer cut yields by half. Rhône grower Jean Pierre Giacomazzi, vice president of the national cherry growers association, has revealed that there are new plantings on the espallier or trellis system which will allow faster picking and even in some cases increase yields above the current 10 tonnes per hectare. New varieties include the Italian Duroni. The region is also experimenting with Babycot, a new apricot. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}