Cherry blossom signals blooming Scottish industry

Cherry blossom signals blooming Scottish industry

The appearance of cherry blossom on Scottish farms is expected to signal the start of a longer growing season for a fruit that’s traditionally doesn’t grow so far north.

Waitrose is expecting a significant, four fold sales increase year on year, as the supermarket’s Scottish branches switch their whole cherry selection to Scottish this year.

According to the supermarket, Scottish cherries are taking off thanks to new types of orchards, new varieties, and the climate.

All the Scottish cherry farmers, growing for leading British cherry supplier, Berry Gardens, have relatively young orchards with the potential to significantly increase yields over the next 2 years.

The temperate climate in Perthshire and Tayside, where many of the orchards are based, mixed with long sunlight hours during the summer, makes Scotland a good location for cherry growers.

Furthermore, new types of shorter trees which allow them to be protected by polytunnels are helping to provide a more consistent supply.

A cherry orchard does not reach full maturity until its 7th year; currently the Scottish orchards are around 4 or 5 years old, meaning that yields should increase over the next two years on these orchards.

As well as this the Berry Gardens, growers are planting more cherries in Scotland and so more trees will gradually come on line over the next few years, meaning more availability.

Nicki Baggott, fruit buyer for Waitrose said: “The cherry industry in Scotland is relatively young meaning there is a big potential for growth.

“Our aim for Scottish cherries is to give our customers a home grown product and grow the industry, by stretching the UK season as long as possible.

“The hope is to have UK cherries from June right up until the end of September.

“We will use Scottish cherries to extend the UK season for our main estate but will ensure our Scottish stores get Scottish cherries from the first day fruit is picked to the last day of picking.”

Speaking on behalf of Berry Gardens, Nick Marston, managing director, said: “Cherries are a relatively new crop to Scotland.

“With the new smaller trees that are now available we are able to protect the orchards in polytunnels whilst taking advantage of the high levels of daylight enjoyed during the Scottish summer and produce great tasting local cherries well into September – giving Scottish fruit a real point on difference.”