Fruitful year for apricot growers as sales soar
Fruit producers in the UK are experiencing bumper crops of apricots as demand increases by 75%, according to a major supermarket.
The country's farmers are expected to produce 180 tonnes this year, the most since 2013 when the crops were first grown in the country - with the previous record of 80 tonnes achieved in 2015.
The fruit was only introduced in the UK following the arrival of apricot cultivars, or tree hybrids, which are suitable for cooler climates and flower later in the spring than other varieties.
The new breed of apricot trees still requires plenty of sunshine, and UK production is centred in the south, mostly in Kent and the Isle of Wight.
Nigel Bardsley of Bardsley Farms in Kent - the UK's largest apricot grower - said: "This year we have had pretty much perfect growing conditions with a cool winter needed to allow the trees to rest, a warm spring and lots of summer sunshine with a bit of rain in between."
Tesco stone-fruit buyer Karen Bee said that demand for apricots had increased by 75% since last year.
She said: "Apricots are fast becoming one of the summer fruits of choice across the UK.
"The British variety are every bit as good as imported apricots and join the ranks of UK-grown strawberries, cherries, apples and pears."