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Strawberry harvest victim of weather

The topsy turvy weather which brought an unseasonally early summer has spelt disaster for the nation’s strawberry farmers.

Not only have berries grown out doors been hit by a mould which can induce allergies, the chaotic weather has made it difficult to control temperatures for strawberries grown in polytunnels.

One grower said the 2012 harvest had been the “worst year yet” and while there are fewer strawberries in shops, there have been assurances from industry group, British Summer Fruits, that Wimbledon will have enough of its traditional favourite, strawberries and cream, to see out the tournament.

A spokesperson for the group said: "There are still ample supplies of British strawberries for Wimbledon and the rest of the summer.

"The cooler weather has had a smoothing effect on production levels so rather than creating peaks of production there will now be a more steady supply of fruit throughout the summer

"20 years ago the crop would have been decimated by the inclement weather over the past few months but thanks to two decades of investment in protective covers we have a thriving British soft fruit industry – one of the success stories of British horticulture," he said

And as a price war commences in preparation for Wimbledon, the All England Club is serving up punnets of 10 strawberries with cream for £2.50 while Marks and Spencer is offering them at half-price to fans who arrive at Wimbledon train station.

Belfast Telegraph