As we head towards Christmas the UK’s huge demand for Brussels sprouts must be met. The Brits eat more than a billion each year, with around a third of that consumed at Christmas!
RK Drysdales located in Berwickshire grows 1000 acres of Brussels and will produce more than 10,000 tonnes this year. Ian McLachlan, Farming and Facilities Manager at the company said sales volumes were up this year. “The sprouts are around 10% below the average size due to the dry, hot summer but this is across the board. We have planted more this year to meet demand and will most likely do the same next year. We work with the retailers so our production is pre-programmed.”
Planting starts in April for an eight week period and 18 different varieties ensure a constant supply from September through to the following April. “Around a third of the crop is harvested for the Christmas market. In December we go from packing for eight hours with four packing lines to two 10 hours shifts with seven packing lines running.”
The recent wet weather has not hindered production, according to Ian they are well used to coping with all sorts of weather.
“Brussels sprouts have come a long way from those bitter sprouts we used to get, these days new milder varieties make them palatable compared to the old bitter varieties. 50% of the flavour is from the genetics / varieties and the other 50% is from the soil they are grown in, that’s why the sprouts from the Scottish borders have a lovely unique flavour, just like good wine.”
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