Christmas alert: Brussels sprouts disaster at North Yorkshire farm

Brussels sprouts -a  washout
Brussels sprouts -a washout

If you like your sprouts truly organic and truly local with your turkey and festive trimmings, there's some bad potentially festive news for Christmas Day in North Yorkshire.

This year’s sprout crop at Riverford Home Farm at Newby Wiske has been declared a wash out following unseasonal warm and wet weather, says North Yorkshire farmer Peter Richardson.

North Yorkshire farmers Peter and Jo-ann Richardson at Riverford Home Farm near Newby Wiske.

North Yorkshire farmers Peter and Jo-ann Richardson at Riverford Home Farm near Newby Wiske.

Encouraged by a sunny September and consistently higher autumnal temperatures, the traditional Christmas vegetable grew to as much as a third bigger than their usual size, said Peter.

Now, however, the persistent rain and mild temperatures of the last few weeks have resulted in the crop, which covers more than four acres at Home Farm at Newby Wiske, becoming infected with rot.

Peter, a Green champion who is also supplier for North Yorkshire-based Riverford organic veg box company, said: “Year on year, we have experienced increasing demand for our sprouts but unfortunately despite our best efforts the weather has beaten us this year."

It's not all bad news, however. Peter also reassured people that UK supplies of Brussels were in healthy shape.

He said: "Overall, however, the UK is enjoying a bumper yield of sprouts so customers can rest assured that their veg boxes and hampers will still contain organic sprouts produced by other Riverford farmers around the country to enjoy with their festive meal.”

As for Home Farm itself, while much of the sprouts crop has been lost to Riverford’s veg box customers, it will not be wasted and will be used to help power the farm’s anaerobic digester (AD) plant which produces environmentally-friendly heat and electricity for the farm’s pack house, grain drying and the grading and washing lines.