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Warmer spring brings bumper strawberry crop for John Myatt of Mockbeggar Farm in Cliffe

By Nicola Jordan

A fruit farmer is reaping a bumper strawberry crop, thanks to a mild winter and warm spring.

John Myatt, who runs two farms, started picking on April 25, three weeks earlier than last year, and said the harvest is set to carry on until October.

As an added bonus, the 2014 crop is bearing much sweeter and tastier berries.

Farmer John Myatt with his bumper crop of strawberries

Mr Myatt and his wife Kim, both 54, grow 85 acres of fruit at Mockbeggar Farm, Cliffe, and at Decoy Farm, High Halstow.

He said: “While we have grown more this year it is still looking very promising. It is the complete opposite to last year when we had a cold winter.

“We are already picking good volumes of strawberries.

“The warmer weather has encouraged a larger than normal number of pollinating insects. Good pollination is vital for high-quality, perfect-shaped fruit and the good sunshine levels will mean that the strawberries will have a great flavour.”

Mr Myatt, a third generation of farmers, supplies supermarkets and farm shops across Medway.

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British Summer Fruits, the industry body which represents the farms which put 98% of berries in supermarkets, estimated that growers will harvest a 10% increase in strawberry production compared to 2013.

Mr Myatt said: “It used to be that the strawberry season peaked in June, but we are now picking them right up until October.”

Last month, the Messenger revealed that apple growers believe the clement weather will lead to an early yield and cherry crops could be double that of recent years.

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