The red sprouts that are making other growers green with envy this Christmas

A FENLAND farmer has come up with the perfect solution for getting the kids to eat sprouts this Christmas - turn them red.

John Lankfer, who grows 70 acres of sprouts on Chestnut Farm in Wisbech, is celebrating an exceptionally good year for the festive vegetable.

The unusually warm winter weather has helped him grow bigger, sweeter and more flavoursome sprouts by the bucket-load.

But it’s not just the green variety that Mr Lankfer has been harvesting.

The farmer has successfully grown 20 acres of red sprouts, which are said to have a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste than their green cousins. The variety, known as the red ball, is produced by crossing a red cabbage with a sprout.

Mr Lankfer said: “The sprout retains the red colour in cooking giving it a nice variation on the plate or novelty factor for the kids.

“In trials of tasting the red sprout was liked more by the people who weren’t keen on the green ones and so there was a bigger percentage of people who preferred them.”

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The red sprout, which Mr Lankfer sells through Morrisons supermarket, contains three times as much vitamin C as an orange.

Mr Lankfer said his sprout yields are the highest he has seen in the last six years and the vegetable had ripened three weeks early.

Last year the UK was plunged into a festive sprout shortage due to the freezing weather but this year more Brits than ever are expected to enjoy them alongside their turkey on Christmas Day.

About 40,000 tonnes of sprouts have been sold in the UK in the last 12 months, with Britain eating more than anyone else in Europe.

The UK sprout industry is estimated to be worth �54million a year.