Given the recent weather perhaps it should come as no surprise that locally grown leeks will be on the shelves in Tesco stores from next Monday.
In fact the unusually early timing is down to the the advanced growing techniques of a local supplier based on the Ards Peninsula.
Roy Lyttle has been supplying Tesco Northern Ireland with leeks since 1997 from his farm just outside Newtownards which he runs with his wife Sheila and their son Alexander, who looks after soil management and crop production.
Explaining the early return of locally grown leeks, Roy said: “As part of its drive to support local suppliers, Tesco Northern Ireland asked us to make every effort to have local leeks on shelves for as long as possible this year.
“There used to be a gap of almost 18 weeks where leeks from Northern Ireland were not available and leeks had to be imported from overseas.
“With very careful planning, using south facing fields with light soils for early crops and covering the plants in fleece to speed up the growing time, we have been able to reduce the period of imported produce to just six weeks, which is great news for us and for customers.”
Caoimhe Mannion, Marketing Manager, Tesco Northern Ireland said: “Leeks from the Ards Peninsula have been on the shelves of Tesco stores across Northern Ireland for nearly 20 years and each year they increase in popularity, particularly over the summer months where sales were typically slower than in winter.”