The heat is on for price of veg

PUBLISHED: 15:46 04 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:02 28 May 2010

Guests of MBMG dig in to the new season’s Juliette potatoes. The crop has stood up well under drought conditions but some vegetables are suffering from reduced yields and supply will be tighter than normal

Guests of MBMG dig in to the new season's Juliette potatoes. The crop has stood up well under drought conditions but some vegetables are suffering from reduced yields and supply will be tighter than normal

THE heatwave and drought conditions which have affected the east of England have resulted in a decrease in yields for vegetable crops which could lead to shortages and higher prices in the shops. The pea harvest is expected to be down by 20 per cent and c

THE heatwave and drought conditions which have affected the east of England have resulted in a decrease in yields for vegetable crops which could lead to shortages and higher prices in the shops.

The pea harvest is expected to be down by 20 per cent and cauliflower yields have dropped by 40 per cent, according to the National Farmers Union.

The potato crop has not been so badly affected, standing up "reasonably well", according to Rob Burrows of the Potato Council, despite early varieties dying back in the searing heat.

A spokesman for potato supplier MBM, of March and Chatteris, said: "It is going to be a difficult year and we are working with growers to alleviate the situation as soon as possible."

Andrew Richardson, managing director of the Vegetable Consultants

Association in Lincolnshire said that this year's onion crop has been reduced by 15 to 20 per cent and this will eventually lead to a shortage in the supermarkets but not until March or April. Onions will be imported from New Zealand in May and prices are likely to increase.

At carrot supplier, Bartlett's of Chatteris, Michael Graves said: "There are still eight to 10 weeks of the carrot growing season left. We are not talking about any shortages of carrots and we will still be able to supply our customers."

In Norfolk, where crops have been irrigated, they are being cut to schedule, says the NFU, and production of salad is unaffected.

East Anglia continues to be the driest spot in the country, having received 15mm of rain in July, about a third of the average.

MARCH company MBMG invited three dozen guests to dig the first of the new season's Juliette potatoes for eating at the second annual Juliette Dinner, held on the Elveden estate near Thetford.

The first harvesting of the Juliette crop is in Cornwall at the end of June, followed by harvesting in East Anglia at the end of July. Seventy per cent of the crop is grown in East Anglia and is sold in Harrods, Selfridges and other fine food retailers.

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