Veggie delight as warm weather creates monster sprouts

Photo Neil Cross'Siran Petherwick with the XL sprouts on the Banana King stall at Preston Market
Photo Neil Cross'Siran Petherwick with the XL sprouts on the Banana King stall at Preston Market
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Monster sprouts are invading shelves across Lancashire.

An unseasonably warm autumn has made this year’s Brussels the biggest for a decade. Normally sprouts weigh about 15g and are 30mm in diameter – but this year farmers are harvesting brassicas more than double this weight.

Norman Young of Preston Market’s Matthew Wade Banana King stall said he’s been selling sprouts as big as small potatoes.

He said: “All season we’ve had big sprouts.

“It’s been a mild autumn and at the end of November we were seeing temperatures of 22 degrees Celcius.

“Farmers plant sprouts in stages, so once one field is done with, another is ready for harvesting.

“But with the weather this year, what’s been programmed in for Christmas has been ready in November, so your Christmas sprouts have been and gone.”

But Norman doesn’t think there’s a need to panic about the Christmas dinner, though he does believe sprout-lovers could struggle in the New Year.

He said: “There won’t be a shortage at Christmas, we’ll just be eating the sprouts meant for February and March instead.

“That mean’s they’ll finish early though, but they did this year.”

Norman’s tasted the big sprouts and says the flavour is just the same as normal, but the quality is better than usual.

He said: “Last year I was disappointed in the quality of the sprouts, I thought they were bitty. But this year they’ve been superb and we’re selling a lot of them.

“They do tend to be associated with Christmas, but people enjoy them all year round, and some customers will only have big ones.”

Rob Hooper from Tesco said there was an added advantage of the size increase.

He said: “The larger size of sprouts will be good news for customers cooking the Christmas dinner this year as it means the 
vegetables will be easier to peel, without losing their sweet flavour.”