The first of the season’s English apricots are about to hit Tesco stores this week and some 180 tonnes are expected to be picked over the summer- the largest amount ever grown in the UK.
Tesco claims to be the first UK retailer to sell English-grown apricots. It started working on a production partnership with Bardsley Farms in Kent – one of the UK’s largest stone fruit producers – in 2010. Apricots are traditionally grown in countries such as Spain, France, Morocco, Turkey and Iran.
Tesco stone fruit buyer Karen Bee said: “Apricots are fast becoming one of the summer fruits of choice across the UK. “The English variety are every bit as good as imported apricots and joins the ranks of British strawberries, cherries, apples and pears as some of the best quality and tasting fruit grown in the world.
“In the last year, UK demand for apricots has rocketed by an unprecedented 75%, making it one of Britain’s most ‘in demand’ fruits.”
Nigel Bardsley of Bardsley Farms in Kent said: “This year we’ve 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.”
The number of UK producers commercially growing apricots has doubled in recent years to eight.
Apricot grower Nigel Bardsley of Bardsley Farms in Kent