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Crop Report

Wednesday 10th April - Wednesday 17th April

Get the insights you need to plan more effectively and manage your menus with our latest report from the field, brought to you by our expert produce team.

Crop Field 2

Seasonal Spotlight

IOW Heritage Tomatoes

The long-anticipated return of British outdoor rhubarb has finally arrived, and we’ve received the first deliveries at our Bicester food village. This seasonal favourite is available to order from now until around the end 
of October.

 

We are getting some very positive feedback from customers for our early season Isle of Wight tomatoes, with the heritage variety coming in for some particularly strong praise. Stock availability will continue to increase over the coming weeks as we get further into the season. 

 

There are still a couple of weeks before the British Asparagus season starts in earnest (around St George’s Day). We have a good stock of early season product, but availability will grow over the coming weeks.

 

After a challenging start, Jersey Royals have made their seasonal debut and stock, which had been delayed by the weather conditions, is now available.

Lettuce

Little Gem Lettuce (Need To Crop Before Use)

We are continuing to see some issues with the Spanish harvest, particularly Lollo Rosso and Batavia, which are both causing market-wide availability concerns. This was initially caused by a ban on planting in December, but has been exacerbated by warm weather in Spain bringing forward the crop.

 

We are working with growers to try to identify additional supplies of these continental varieties and help mitigate the shortages.

 

In the UK, planting remains behind, but producers are taking steps to speed up growth and keep it on track. We will be moving to UK supply at various points during May, depending on the variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage

Cabbage

The wet weather throughout the season has meant that speciality cabbages remain a challenge with Savoy, Sweetheart, Curly Kale and Cavolo Nero all facing short supply in the coming weeks. We are expecting to need to transfer to imported products much earlier than anticipated.

 

We have been working with growers to secure as much British product as we can, and have managed to maintain UK supply for Savoy, but we do not expect this to continue beyond this week.

 

We are continuing to review the quality of product in stores to monitor the impact the wet conditions during harvest have had. There have also been some quality issues with Curly Kale from Spain, and we are working with suppliers to overcome these.

Potatoes

Potatoes

Potato supply continues to be challenging and there is a gradual decline in market availability. Maris Piper is expected to end soon, and we expect the situation with other varieties to also deteriorate in the coming weeks.

 

We will continue to investigate alternative varieties and do what we can to mitigate some of the availability issues.

 

We are working with processors to try to manage supply, as they face challenges with availability and quality, which is reducing yields. 

Parsnips

Piccolo Baby Parsnips

There are some significant market-wide shortages on their way, as wet weather and flooded fields bring the British parsnip season to a premature end. 

 

We are anticipating a potentially extended gap in supply as the Spanish season is still some weeks away from being ready. 

 

We are working with suppliers both in the UK and in Spain to try to identify additional stocks to mitigate the issues that we are going to be facing throughout April.

Apples

British Braeburn Apple (Part Of The British Bi Coloured Apple Autumn Range)

We are not expecting any major availability issues with red or bi-coloured apples from the Southern Hemisphere, but we could see some quality challenges on colour later in the season.

 

In order to colour up well, the fruit needs a distinct variation in day and night temperatures, but El Nino has meant that there has been little change as the day progresses. This is likely to lead to the apples not colouring up as they should and may require concessions on colour as the season progresses.

Melons

Honeydew Melon

We are still seeing some shipping delays on melons, but these are not currently affecting availability, although further delays could cause some issues.

 

We are continuing to maintain a watching brief on Galia, which is a potential concern as yields are lower than expected. We will know more as the season progresses.

 

We expect to transition to Spain in the next month or so, where the crop is looking better.

Spring Greens

Spring Greens

The wet weather has impacted the growth and harvesting of Spring Greens. This has meant that fields have been written off and some gaps in supply while the product is regrown. We expect shortages and a tight market while we wait for the next fields to be ready in around two to three weeks.

 

We are working with our growers and contingency suppliers where possible, but these are market-wide shortages that are unlikely to be fully resolved until the new fields are ready.

Avocado

Avocado

We have started to see the arrival of fruit from new origins, including some early fruit from the major growing area of Peru, which is helping to ease any remaining availability issues. 

 

However, we do still have some concerns that the current problems we’re seeing with storms and delays in global shipping could impact deliveries while stocks are being replenished.

Grapes

Red Grapes

There are no current issues with supply, but we are carefully monitoring the situation with Chilian grapes as delays to the start of the season are expected. We normally move to Chile in mid-April, but with the hold-up, there could be some issues as we transition between origins. However, we are not currently expecting shortages.

Limes

Limes 2

The first deliveries of the delayed lime shipments have arrived in the UK, which will ease the market-wide shortages. These are around two weeks late, so our suppliers are watching quality very closely.

 

We are expecting other delayed vessels to dock later this week and early next, which should allow availability to return to normal.

Berries

Blackberries British 2

There is better news from Morocco as the transition between regions has been completed and the weather has improved. This has led to availability rapidly improving, which is being accompanied by enhanced quality too. 

Peppers

Mixed Peppers

We are experiencing some issues with the quality of peppers from Spain. Class 2 has been an issue for some time, but we are now also seeing some problems on Class 1 as we approach the end of the season. We are working with suppliers to try to mitigate these issues. 

Tomatoes

Iow Beef Tomatoes With Underlay Of Red Cherry 2

As the season draws to a close, there are some issues with shelf-life and firmness of various varieties of tomatoes, although this is not particularly unusual for the time of year.