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Sprout crop in danger from frost

Love them or hate them, no Christmas meal would be complete without them — the equally revered and reviled brussels sprout.

But the continuing cold snap has put this year’s crop in danger.

Freezing temperatures have prevented growers from |harvesting the festive vegetables and many fear their |crop could be severely |damaged.

Patrick Smith of Derrykeeran Nurseries in Portadown hopes to deliver three million sprouts into shops and supermarkets for Christmas, but warned that some of the harvest had already been affected by frost.

“We are bringing them in from the fields and putting them into cold storage to thaw them out,” he said.

“They are all having to be hand-harvested because we are afraid of damage.

“We would usually have a mechanical harvester but we are afraid that using this would cause further damage.”

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Mr Smith said that his team of harvesters were unable to go out to pick brussels sprouts yesterday and was hoping a thaw would come soon.

“It’s going to come down to the tolerance level and if customers will accept sprouts that have been slightly damaged,” he added.

“With the harsh conditions that we are having I can’t see the crop being perfect.”

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