Home Grown Strawberries

Britain is to enjoy its first taste of spring this weekend with the arrival of Mediterranean temperatures and the first batch of home-grown strawberries.

Forecasters said the country will be hotter than Barcelona while supermarkets were racing to stock their shelves with the first English strawberries of the season.

Waitrose declared itself the winner with fruit grown in glasshouses in Chichester arriving yesterday (FRI), but Tesco is confident its strawberries, also grown in West Sussex, will be on sale today.

Growers credited the early ripening to the mild winter, which has meant the fruit is ready for sale a week earlier than last year.

Waitrose's strawberry buyer Nicki Baggott said: "English strawberries are an inherent part of spring and summertime celebrations so it's a real treat to be tucking into them earlier than usual. 

Simon Mandelbaum, Tesco's strawberry buyer, said: "We are a nation of strawberry-lovers who cannot get our hands on the English crop quick enough and this year will be no exception - we are expecting a mad rush.”

By Padraic Flanagan and Claire Carter

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