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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Tesco snaps up local strawberries
Over 50 million strawberries are picked over an eight-week period
A major supermarket chain has unveiled plans to buy most of its strawberries from local growers in Kent.

S&A Produce near Whitstable is set for one of its busiest seasons after Tesco said Kent's strawberries tasted better than imported varieties.

It is one of the largest indoor growers in the country, and its plants are ready for picking after being grown under glass throughout the winter.

Tesco has said it will buy an extra 10 million home-grown punnits this year.

Outstanding quality

S&A Produce has seven greenhouses, with 200,000 strawberry plants in each.

Over an eight-week period, more than 50 million strawberries are picked.

Spokesman Richard Riley said: "From flowering to picking is about 42 days, and what we pick today will go straight on the supermarket shelf tonight."

Tony Kerrigan, of Tesco, said the quality of local strawberries was "outstanding".

"We've actually looked at the strawberry crop this year, and we believe that the quality matches the Wimbledon fortnight," he said.

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