FARMERS on the Isle of Wight have been working with supermarket buyers to plug a seasonal hole in the supply of the humble British cauliflower.

Somerfield has struck a deal that will ensure every cauliflower bought in its stores this Christmas is home grown, and net an extra £1 million for British growers.

“Traditionally in the winter months retailers are forced to look across the sea to France and Brittany to source year-round supplies but we have managed to ensure that we stay with our home grown British crop,” said David Stokes, Somerfield’s buyer.

“Our main supply of cauliflowers is from Lincolnshire but the season runs out by mid- November. The growing season is slightly longer in Cornwall but now with our Isle of Wight growers we can continue to source British all year long.”

Over the last two years Somerfield and its suppliers have established three major growers on the Isle of Wight where they enjoy a frost-free winter and temperatures between three and four degrees above average.

Andrew Brown, one of the Isle of Wight growers, said: “The warm air currents coming in off the Atlantic and the salty atmosphere mean that we can grow cauliflowers right through the winter months until the season picks up again on the mainland around March time.”