Something to sprout about

Isolated brussels sprouts
Isolated brussels sprouts

Love them or loathe them, this Christmas could see Arbroath crowned the Brussels Sprouts growing capital of the world.

Thanks to a fortunate confluence of growing conditions brassica crops throughout Britain have sprouted a bit early and in bumper numbers, but there is the possibility that it could lead to a shortened season.

Back Camera

Back Camera

Not so for Peter Stirling at Windyhills Farm, Arbroath, who expects his sprouts to be top of the heap well into next year.

For the second year running he and his workers will be supplying 100 per cent of Marks and Spencers’ prepared Brussels Sprouts range.

Peter explained: “Because it was very mild and warm in the Autumn it looks like the UK will run out of sprouts early next year. We were fortunate because we planted later varieties so we’ll manage to avoid some of these problems.

“M&S were up and they were pleased with everything and we’ve got the contract for supplying 100 per cent of their prepared sprouts.

“You can’t really do better than 100 per cent! I would think it was the first time last year that they gave 100 per cent to a single supplier. They were very, very pleased with how it went last year and were keen to do the same this year.”

Arbroath’s coastal location benefits greatly from the Goldilocks effect, not too hot in summer and not too cold or snowy in winter.

Peter continued: “M&S were tasting them in the fields and they were commenting that the sprouts were sweeter than some of their cabbages and you can eat them without cooking them they are so mild.

“Arbroath could be considered the Brussels sprouts growing capital of the UK, as far as M&S is concerned anyway. We could also have the last sprouts in the UK. When everyone else has finished, some of the English growers could be done at the end of January, we’ll keep going for a few extra months. We could be the last place to get sprouts in the UK.”