Only one decade after cherry orchards were almost wiped out in Britain, growers are celebrating such a bumper crop this year that they are able to export the fruit around the world. More than 6,000 tons are expected to be harvested this season, with the excess being sold to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar and South Africa.
'If you'd told me ten years ago we'd been shipping cherries to those kinds of places, I would have laughed,' says Matt Hancock, chairman of trade body Love Fresh Cherries. 'It's great news for Brand Britain.'
This year's crop represents a six-fold increase on 2010's figures, when 95 per cent of cherries in British supermarkets were flown in from overseas. Fearing that traditional home-grown crops were being lost to bland imports and tasteless modern varieties, growers launched a campaign to revitalise their industry called, inevitably, CherryAid.