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17 May 2017

Last Month’s Cold Spell Could Cause a British Fruit Shortage According to NFU

Last month, the UK experienced a few cold spells; colder than usual temperatures for the average April that we usually experience. With spring not showing its true colours on the weather front, it can bring worries about farming season and the quality of crops in the UK, forcing many companies to outsource to keep up with demand.

Previously on Keep Me Warm we’ve looked at which crops can stand cold or even sub-zero temperatures, but the National Farmers’ Union have warned of potential fruit shortages due to the colder-than-usual month running up to spring; the cold causing damage to fruit which isn’t so cold-hardy.

British apples, pears, plums and cherries are said to be at shortage following last month’s Arctic blast having damaged fruit blossom.  Chairman of the National Farmers’ Union horticulture board Alison Capper expressed her worries of her and other farmers’ crop development to the Guardian, recognising that fruit blossom is a crucial stage in crop development:

“There’s damage to both top and stone fruit, which includes apples, pears, plums and cherries,” she said. 

“But it’s difficult to know what this means until we see the fruit sets, which is the point when it becomes clear how much fruit has stayed on the trees. However, I think there is enough evidence there will be less English fruit this year.”

A range of apple varieties are said to be at risk of shortage, including favourites Gala, Braeburn and Red Windsor, potentially dropping by 70-80% due to the cold snap.

Capper continues in noting that retailers and customers need  to be “less fussy this year if they want beautiful-tasting English apples”, as the frost and cold can damage the fruits’ skin, colour and shape of the fruits, which may not look as appealing as the beautiful fruits we’re used to.

The NFU says that the fruits may be saved by ‘decent rains’ over the next couple of months, however they note how spring barely, wheat and sugar beet fields are developing slowly, meaning a low yield may be produced.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.