English cherry growers have hailed this year’s crop as the best quality for 25 years.
The UK now produces about 2,000 tonnes of cherries a year, 20% more than five years ago. British cherry producers have been increasing yields by expanding acreage and using modern varieties grown on smaller trees for easier picking.
The increasing scale of production is exemplified by John Leigh-Pemberton, who has planted 24ha using new varieties such as Regina from Germany, Kordia from the Czech Republic, and Penny, developed by UK scientists at East Malling.
“Apart from yielding more fruit, these also ripen later so we can extend the season into August,” he said at the NFU’s Cherry and Soft Fruit Show.
Because of consumer awareness of British cherries, the fruit can compete effectively with imports from Turkey and the United States during its four-week season.