Strawberry farms take a battering

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

FRUIT farmers in Levenmouth are counting the cost of extensive damage caused by gale force winds.

Gusts of up to 100mph left poly-tunnels shredded to pieces, exposing bumper crops to the elements.

Allan Clark, of Woodbank Farm in Windygates, has farmed fruit for almost 25 years.

He said: “It’s definitely the worst damage we’ve ever experienced.”

Now urgent repairs are underway to protect crops after further gales on Sunday hammered the poly-tunnels.

Farmers who, thanks to a beautiful April, were expecting a bumper season at the end of this month, are now battling to re-erect those over precious fruit crops.

Around 100 workers at Blacketyside Farm in Leven are already making progress, but owner Robert Todd admitted damage was so extensive they were “not at the bottom of it yet.”

He said: “We’ve never seen the likes of that wind in May. It’s unbelievable at this time of the year. We just have to roll up our sleeves and knuckle down.

For Allan Clark at Windygates, it was a similar story.

“All we’ve got to do is keep our heads down and keep going,” he commented. It’s pretty devastating.”

Farmers have the option to send wind or rain damaged fruit to processing and now hope, weather permitting, that less mature fruit comes on well.

Mr Todd stressed that, despite such a significant setback, “it was business as usual” at Blacketyside.

Suspicions on possible climate change aside, he said he expected the odd challenge now and again after 20-plus years in the business.

He said: “It’s called the pleasures of farming!”