Optimism returns to plums market
OPTIMISIM is returning to the plum markets after healthy crops were predicted around the county.
The best weather conditions in years are paving the way for a golden year, after several seasons of struggle.
A combination of a very cold winter, followed by an ideal spring with temperatures growing steadily warmer, made the perfect combination.
But, disappointed by years of devastating harvests, fruit growers in Gloucestershire say the next 10 days will be key before they get too excited.
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Martin Harrell, of Hayles Fruit Farm in the Cotswolds, between Toddington and Winchcombe, said: “It’s a decent crop of fruit this year.
“At the moment the season is quite young, but it’s much better than last year, which was a financial wipeout for anyone who grew fruit.
“Early plums have been picked.
“The Vale of Evesham has picked its Victoria plums, so there will be a few coming out on the market.
“We are about seven or eight days behind them.
“We could do with a drop more rain, to be honest and it’s been a good start, but let’s see what happens in the next 10 days.
“Cooler temperatures in March have probably helped a great deal.
“We’ve got a nice crop of plums and our dessert apples are looking very nice.
“We’ve even got a few more Cox’s than we thought we’d have. The trees had a year off last year, so they a complete rest.”
Rees Keene, from Over Farm Market, near Gloucester, said: “We primarily grow soft fruit and our crop last year was a complete write-off.
“Our crop this year is probably double that of last year. It’s been a very good year.
“It’s been dry and sunny, so people have wanted to come here to pick and buy our fruit.”