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Strawberry yields forever: Spalding-based Elsoms has Seeds bred a groundbreaking new variety of the fruit favourite

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Shoppers will be able to tuck into British strawberries in the winter thanks to a breakthrough from a Spalding-based firm.

Elsoms Seeds, in Pinchbeck Road, has been working on a hybrid variety Soraya over the last three years - and says this can be grown all-year round.

Crop specialist Claire Taylor said: “Soraya is potentially one of the most important developments in British strawberry growing for many years.

The Soraya variety (58275007)
The Soraya variety (58275007)

“Latest Defra figures show the UK imports around 65,000 tonnes of strawberries every year worth £214M with the majority of these brought in outside of the traditional strawberry production period.”

She added: “Furthermore, consumer testing has shown they are manifestly preferable to UK tastes than most imported varieties, being sweet bright red berries in the classic British strawberry style.”

Elsoms says imported strawberries often come from more than 2,000 miles away and so this could reduce the ‘food miles and carbon footprint’ - and help meet the Government’s food security ambitions.

The Soraya variety (58275009)
The Soraya variety (58275009)

The new innovation came about thanks to a partnership with Dutch strawberry experts ABZ Seeds.

The partnership has literally borne fruit - with the Estavana variety for outdoor gutter production, Rowena for open fields and Soraya for glasshouses.

Claire added: “It’s quite an achievement to put British strawberries on the shelves of three main UK supermarkets over the winter. Response has been really encouraging from retailers and consumers alike and there’s now a real opportunity for UK growers to take a slice of the large strawberry import market to the benefit of all involved.”

The firm says that growing strawberries from F1 hybrid seeds has ‘major advantages’ because it helps avoid extra paperwork thrown up by Brexit.

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