There is a good strawberry supply at the moment with fruit coming from both Spain and Morocco, there is also Egyptian fruit but there have been some quality issues with it this season.
"Our Moroccan season got off to a slow start back in November but it has picked up," said Ed Velasco from Rodanto. "We are also well into the Spanish season which started mid-December. There is plenty of fruit about."
It is quite cold in Spain at the moment with night temperatures dipping to 1 or 2 degrees, but this is offset by lots of sunshine during the day and a full moon at night which is causing a flush at the moment.
"The high light levels are producing great quality and good availability which will last for a couple of weeks. The Moroccan season is also progressing well, we should have a good supply into mid-February. We have stayed away from Egyptian strawberries this season due to the quality issues."
On 1st January the UK introduced new customs regulations in line with Brexit, where everything coming in and going out of the UK has to be cleared at customs, this is leading to long delays while the checks are carried out.
"We have had issues on some loads from Morocco, we try to keep to full loads but this isn't always possible and on some of our groupage loads we have had big delays. There might be goods from 3 or 4 sometimes 5 different importers on a lorry, we are not informed about how many there will be beforehand, each importer may use a different customs clearance operator so the truck has to go to each one before the fruit can be released. The biggest delay we had was 5 days and with a load of soft fruit that is just too long."
Ed said they have a good relationship with their hauler and are trying to make sure all importers have the customs clearance operator to simplify this and limit delays.
"Again, we are learning as we go along and trying to make it work better. It seems like DEFRA is very short-staffed and can't cope. If a load is delayed and the fruit has to get destroyed no one is liable for it so we just have to take the hit."