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'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

The field in west Norfolk contains about 30 million tulips
The UK's biggest outdoor commercial tulip grower has said it has been stockpiling bulbs as uncertainty over Brexit continues.Belmont Nurseries, near King's Lynn, said the future of the UK's relationship with the European Union (EU) was a cause of major concern."We're very much UK based, but we do also sell to Europe," nursery director Mark Eves said.
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

There about about 17 varieties of tulips in the field of nearly 30 million stems
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

"In the four days before Mother’s Day we supplied nearly four million stems to UK supermarkets," Mark Eves said
The nursery said it brought forward a lot of its Dutch imports to give itself a "buffer" while it awaits further movement in Brexit talks.Mr Eves said the decision was taken because of fears any delays at British ports that could be caused by Brexit.
How new Brexit delay has hit four firms"The bulbs would be ruined if they didn't get to us within 12 hours," he said.The EU has granted the UK a six-month extension, eliminating the immediate threat of a no-deal Brexit.
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

The heads are removed from the tulips so the flowering energy returns to the bulb to make it stronger
Mr Eves said: "We haven't got a problem with Brexit, we've got more problem with MPs not knowing how much sugars they want in their tea - let alone what they are doing to sort out trade deals."I appreciate the complexities, but the fact they can't agree with themselves - it's disappointing, to say the least."
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

The Belmont Nursery fields are the largest outdoor crop grown in the UK
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

It takes about two year for this crop to go from bulb production to stems suitable for supermarket sales
In 25 years, Belmont has reached the point where it is producing about 75 million bulbs a year.None of the millions of tulips in the field, which is not open to the public, make it to a vase - when the time is right the flowers are beheaded by giant mower-like machine to remove the petals.
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

A rogue colour in a row looks beautiful, but it is not what the tulip producers want
"People still wonder why we take the heads off, saying it seems such a waste, but if we don't take the head off we don't get the higher quality bulb and this is all about getting the best quality bulb we can," Mr Eves said."It's a challenge every year with the weather- so to see them growing well is an absolute pleasure."
'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit

The rogue colours in the row are removed to ensure a consistent bulb stock goes back to the glasshouses
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King's Lynn
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