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Summer 2021: Crop Report

Summer 2021

Last years summer couldn’t be any different. With April 2020 being one of the hottest on record we see a complete opposite for 2021 bringing the 3rd coldest in the last 140 years. The changing of weather has had a huge impact on growing conditions making crop yields delayed. However it’s not all bad news. Thankfully there is some great UK produce which is now in season such as Strawberries and Rainbow Chard adding a burst of colour to your menus. Below we will share some insights into the produce world and share some thoughts on the coming months.

Growing Conditions

April saw the lowest average minimum temperature since 1922. Interestingly, last year (2020) was one of the warmest springs on record! The major growing areas have seen reasonable conditions throughout May and into June, and some farms are irrigating depending on location. Spanish hard salads and brassicas finished early due to poor weather conditions which put pressure on the Netherlands and the UK in May-June, but availability is now good. The Netherlands hard salad production is going well and there is full production in the UK on leafy salads and brassicas.
Most hard salads are now coming from Dutch supply, except celery & courgette which are coming from Spain. UK celery is just starting, although late, but courgette will be into July this year before the main crops are underway due to the effects of the cold temperatures.

However these conditions do not come without challenges. To put it bluntly there are not enough planes landing at UK airports to support the growing demand and need for certain products. Many fresh products are having to be delivered to other countries such as the Netherlands before they can be transported to the UK. As seen by other suppliers there has been a real struggle to find drivers. With very few tests being taken in the last 12-months drivers are in limited supply with overseas workers returning to their home countries.

In Season and Looking Forward

There is some fresh and flourishing produce coming into season. British Asparagus is seeing record harvests, UK strawberries; particularly from Scotland are in high demand. Alongside this new season of summer local spring greens, kale and chard from Lancashire farmers are showing great promise. Looking ahead there is potential for the UK celery crop yields this is due to the good conditions allowing for a good growth.

What is good to see from the last year and half is how on a national & local scale the UK has adapted to the uncertain circumstances. It’s impossible to predict the future but if it continues to show promise then no matter the condition the fresh produce market will thrive.