Country faces a sprout drought

Roger Welberry.
Roger Welberry.

LOVE them or hate them – Brussels sprouts may not make it to the dinner plate this Christmas if the freezing conditions continue.

The warnings have been issued by Boston area sprout farmers who say the ground frost if preventing them from being able to harvest their crop.

“It’s terrible,” said Roger Welberry, one of the directors of CleanCut, based in Kirton Holme.

“Up to Sunday I was optimistic but the conditions have become much worse this week and things are now serious.”

Mr Welberry (pictured) said the sprouts have turned black with the frost and although they could harvest them now, they wouldn’t be the right standard of quality.

“They wouldn’t last long in the shops and restaurants and would turn mushy and start to smell after a bit,” he said.

Boston borough is a key area for the farming of sprouts, with Lincolnshire being one of the main suppliers to the rest of the country.

Last year the Standard reported there was a frantic rush in the Boston area to pick the sprouts in time for Christmas.

Chris Gedney, managing director of TH Clements & Son in Benington - one of the country’s biggest sprout suppliers, - told The Standard he predicts they have just days left for harvesting. He suggests if growers fail to get them out in time for Christmas, the sprout industry will be left ‘devastated’.

Mr Welberry added: “It’s a waiting game now, but I’m hoping the weather will become milder by the weekend so we can harvest the sprouts in time for Christmas – it may mean another mad sprout-picking session though!”