Sainsbury’s is adding an early crunch to spring salads this week with the UK’s first harvest of British radishes hitting stores today, 10 days ahead of schedule.
The recent warm weather and relatively mild winter is credited with bringing about the early crop, which is typically the first British salad ingredient of the season. The British radish season runs April to October, with the traditional red globe-shaped Celesta variety the first to be ready for harvest.
Sainsbury’s has worked with Norfolk-based radish suppliers, G’s, since the 1980’s. Supplying the supermarket with over 1,000 tonnes of the colourful crop each year, grower Scott Watson manages one of the biggest areas in the country dedicated to growing radishes.
Later in April will see the launch of bunched radishes in Sainsbury’s. Not only do the bulbs add colour and crunch to a salad, the leaves can also be used as a tasty alternative to traditional lettuce or rocket. The retailer is also planning to expand the range with a trial of different coloured radish varieties this summer.
Lily Peck, Produce Product Technologist for Sainsbury’s, says: “We’ve seen demand for radishes increase by 22% in the past year as customers realise how versatile they are. A few fresh radishes make a delicious crunchy snack or crudité, and their distinctive pinky-red hue adds an Instagram-worthy pop of colour to summer salads. As the weather gets warmer they actually get hotter in flavour so if you prefer a milder radish, these early varieties are the perfect choice.”
Scott Watson, grower, says: “Here in the Norfolk Fens, as one of the driest counties in the UK, we’re perfectly placed to grow top quality radishes with great flavour and a juicy crunch. The mild winter has meant that the radish have grown much faster than usual. It’s a real bonus for us to be able to increase the length of the British radish season and get them to Sainsbury’s customers earlier than ever before.”
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