Cucumber grower cuts crops despite salad shortages

High energy costs have forced one of the UK’s biggest cucumber firms to reduce production despite salad item shortages in supermarkets.

Tony Montalbano from Green Acre Salads in Roydon, Essex, said he will be growing fewer crops and start later in the year.

Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Tesco have placed limits on items such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Mr Montalbano said he was “trying to find ways of saving” money.

The company is a leading supplier of mini cucumbers to British supermarkets.

Mr Montalbano said for the second year running he had planted two seasons of crops rather than the usual three to avoid the higher winter months growing costs.

“Three seasons ago there would be a full crop and harvesting [at this time of year],” he said.

Usually the company would start planting in late January. This year, planting will begin in April.

The producer said he had to keep his glasshouses at 21C (70F) to grow cucumbers and said his energy bills would have been “five times” higher had he grown his full crop.

Mr Montalbano said although this would reduce his costs it also meant he could lose out on about a third of his turnover.

The UK government has said the shortages were largely down to bad weather in Europe and Africa.

  • Vegetable shortages could last for up to a month
  • Why is there a shortage of tomatoes in the UK?
  • Tesco and Aldi limit tomatoes and some vegetables

High energy prices were also having an impact on supplies on produce grown in greenhouses in the UK and the Netherlands, industry experts have said.

The Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said the shortages could last up to a month.

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