East Anglian radish crop is on schedule

EAST Anglia’s radish crop is now being harvested, after mixed weather patterns resulted in it being ready on schedule.

The warm weather earlier this month brought the crops on, but recent cooler temperatures set them back again.

The net effect of the up and down weather in April has turned out to be small, and farms in East Anglia started harvesting bunched French Breakfast radishes, on target, about a fortnight ago. Purple radishes will begin to be harvested at the end of this month.

The radish is the first of the outdoor crops in the UK and the fastest growing.

The key sales period for the crop is through the summer months of May to October

Annual radish household penetration sits at around 25% of the market. There are roughly 25 million households in the UK so this equates to around 6.3 million. This is boosted during summers with strong sunshine patterns

The largest group of purchasers are older, post-family consumers and there is a drive to try to increase consumption among the young.

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Scott Watson manages one of the biggest areas dedicated to growing radishes in the UK in West Norfolk.

Radishes grow quite well in a lot of climates, but Norfolk is exceptionally well suited, having a good fertile peaty soil, with good moisture retention. This means there is less need to irrigate too often, which preserves the scarce water supplies – important in the Fens, which is one of the driest regions in the country. The Fenland soil is soft with very few stones, which can damage the radishes at harvest.