The Beatles were half-right when they sang about Strawberry Fields forever. 2015 is set to be the year of the strawb, with this summer’s crop expected to be a fifth bigger than 2014.
Industry body British Summer Fruits expect 76,000 tonnes of strawberries to be grown in the UK and sales to reach £325 million - £50 million more than last year, which was the best on record.
More growers are cultivating their strawberries under polytunnels and feeding them with coir, a coconut by-product, which means strawberries are now pretty much available between March - December, rather than being strictly a seasonal summer fruit.
Laurence Olins, Chairman of British Summer Fruits, told i100.co.uk that the mild winter and sunny spring bode well for strawberries this year.
“We’re very pleased,” he said. “Consumers tend to buy more strawberries when its sunny though so we’re still hoping the weather holds.”
There should be strawberries to go round this year, and blackberries, raspberries and blueberries will also be ripe and ready to eat.
It’s worth bearing in mind the other foods that will be at their lip-smacking best this summer:
They’re the only citrus fruit that’s in season in the summer months so better switch from lemon for your gin and tonic.
Ripe melons should feel heavy and have a faintly sweet smell.
If you don’t have peach juice dribbling down your chin, you’re not doing it right. Look out for them in July.
If you’re lucky enough to find fresh chickpeas, stock up on the pale green ones.
Cucumbers really are cool: their core temperature is lower than their surroundings. Just as well they’re at their best when the sun comes out.
British tomatoes are unparalleled in the summer. M&S is even introducing a new variety this year: the Kent Pink Unami.
Aubergines should be shiny and their skin should feel tight and smooth.
Garlic is at its most plump and juicy in August.
No barbeque would be complete without corn-on-the-cob and sweetcorn lives up to its name late summer.
Again, look out for peppers that feel heavy and have smooth shiny skin.