Bumper year for sprouts says Kirton Holme farmer

Roger Welberry farms sprouts at Kirton Holme. SG271112-116NG
Roger Welberry farms sprouts at Kirton Holme. SG271112-116NG
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Love them or hate them, Christmas dinner without Brussels sprouts just wouldn’t be the same.

Growers were predicting a bumper crop as early as August and recent mild, wet weather has resulted in reports of yields expected to be 30 per cent higher than in 2012.

It’s true the crop is looking good but it’s not quite that simple

Roger Welberry, Kirton Holme farmer

But in spite of sprouts already for sale at markets across South Holland, according to local farmer Roger Welberry, the news is not as good as it seems.

Mild weather and rain has caused a growing spurt and, if cold dry weather doesn’t take hold soon, more sprouts will end up wasted than on the dinner plates.

Mr Welberry, who farms at Kirton Holme, said: “It’s true the crop is looking good but it’s not quite that straightforward.

“Supermarkets don’t want sprouts that are too big. If they get 38-40ml, then the supermarkets don’t want them and they just go off to the markets.

“We don’t want this to drive the price down because they cost a lot to grow.

”There’s also a problem around with disease. What we want now is cold dry weather.”

Mr Welberry is keeping his fingers crossed mild and wet weather will not return, not only for his crop but also because he is a big fan of sprouts himself.

He said: “I can understand people not liking them years ago when they were strong. But now there are new, sweeter varieties that can suit everyone’s taste.

“I like mine steamed or boiled – but families should try other ways of getting the kids to eat them, such as stir frying them in balsamic vinegar.

“They are delicious and really good for you – packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. I just love them.”