Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Strawberries on the summer menu

A Vale of Glamorgan farmer has started growing strawberries
A Vale of Glamorgan farmer has started growing strawberries

Wet and windy Wales may be better known for producing leeks but one farmer is turning to the strawberry to boost business.

Never before grown in commercial quantities in Wales, a Vale of Glamorgan farm is already experiencing the sweet taste of success.

Thousands of Welsh-grown strawberries are already on sale across the region thanks to a link-up with supermarket giant Tesco.

It is buying every last strawberry the farm can produce so it can sell a locally grown crop to its customers.

That amounts to 220 tons of strawberries, or 500,000 punnets carrying a Welsh flag and the name of local grower John Davies.

"Food provenance has become far more important to shoppers over the last few years and as a result there is a growing appetite for locally produced fare," said Tesco strawberry buyer Paul Jones.

"Strawberries are generally commercially grown in extensive flat field areas and as a result no one ever considered Wales with its hills, valleys and mountains as good places for major production.

"But when one of our largest suppliers told us they were starting to grow strawberries in Wales on a commercial scale we jumped at the chance."

He said the initial crop is enough to supply stores across south Wales with plans for a larger crop next year to extend coverage.

The supply of the current crop, grown from a sweet variety known as Capri, will last in Welsh stores until October.

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