Chris Chinn – Cobrey Farms
Asparagus was ahead of schedule, now latest season in ten years
Last Sunday, St George’s Day marked the official start of the English asparagus season, and despite the cold, dull weather there were home-grown asparagus on the shelves in time.
“We are slightly behind,” said Chris Chinn from Cobrey Farms in the Wye Valley. “We were actually ahead of schedule until just before the start of harvest when the weather changed. We have had asparagus from the tunnels, but it is the latest asparagus season in ten years and we won’t see production from the main open ground crop until next week due to low temperatures.”
Last year the season started earlier and there was still imported asparagus on the shelves which cause a bit of pressure, but this year it is not a problem.
“The start of the season always causes a bit of excitement and demand has been good, we hope that this will continue as we reach the peak period in May.”
Labour remains a challenge for growers, although Chris said that they must give credit to the government for listening and ensuring there was a scheme to provide more workers.
“Things can always be improved, we need continuity and consistence to build a regular, returning workforce.
Having returning workers is better for us and it’s better for the workers. Having lots of new people is very expensive for us, the impact on productivity affects us more than the wage increases.
That said without these workers we would not be able to harvest anything.”
Author: Nichola McGregor