Farm's delight at bumper crop of big Brussels for Christmas
- Credit: ELLA WILKINSON
It's the vegetable the nation loves to hate... But this year the Christmas dinner staple is bigger and better than usual.
A combination of planting early and a warm summer has meant farmers are reporting Brussels sprouts being up to 50pc larger than normal.
Adam Glover, 53, is a contract farmer with his wife May for Norfolk County Council, and has 100 acres at Nordelph, near Downham Market.
He said he had noticed when cutting that the Brussels were bigger than usual.
Other farmers in Lincolnshire, where Brussels are grown more commonly than in Norfolk because of the silty, moist soil, say the bumper crop is because of the warm summer.
But Mr Glover, the third generation in his family to farm, said he believed it was because he'd sown his sprouts early, back in April and May.
Recent windy days have also helped blow off old leaves and keep the 'buttons,' the part we eat, blemish free, he said.
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Mr Glover sells his small crop of Brussels on the stalk in his vegetable stall at Neatmoor Hall Farm, where he also grows wheat, barley and spring beans.
"Different varieties of Brussels sprouts are bigger than others but I think it was because I planted them early," he said.
"If you get them in by mid May, that's perfect and yes, the good summer helped because Brussels need sunshine, but they also need rain.
"In Norfolk our sandy soil means there isn't the moisture Brussels like, whereas in Lincolnshire, you can dig down four or five inches and there's still moisture in the soil."
He added: "People like to buy them on the stalk and what I grow I sell in the stall in the yard. I used to grow a lot more and sell at farmers markets and farm shops but no one wants to pay the price for them.
"So I just grow four or five rows and cut them myself."
It will be good news for those who will be preparing Christmas dinner - Mr Glover said bigger Brussels are easier to peel, and you don't need to do as many.