Sweet and earthy, beetroot is famous for its magenta hue - and makes a fantastic addition to all sorts of dishes from the end of summer through to the cooler months.
Coming into season from late July until the beginning of November, beetroot thrives in cool north European temperatures and bright sunshine - making it perfect for British summertime soil.
Tim Carr is Technical Manager at Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd - one of our dedicated beetroot producers. Sourcing over 1.2 million bunches of beetroot a year across farmland around Spalding in Lincolnshire, Tim and his team know a thing or two about the purple root veg.
We chatted to Tim about Asda's British beetroot, how it's grown, and how his dedicated team ensure every beet is of the highest possible quality…
"Beetroot farming really depends on the British weather - especially the frosts. In the last three years, we've been picking beets until as late as mid November, as the frosts have held off. Last year we picked over 1.32 million bunches.
"British soil contains many of the nutrients and vitamins that beets need to grow to their fullest capacity. Beetroot likes fertile, moist soil. It hates frost, which can kill the plant easily. Meanwhile, sunlight gives beetroot its sweetness - hence why we grow it through the spring, summer and even autumn after the winter frosts have finished.
"Beetroot is a brilliant crop as it thrives quite happily on the nutrients in the soil - which also makes it great for growing in the garden at home. What's more, beetroot very rarely needs treatment with pesticides as pests aren't fond of it.
"We start growing our beetroots in the winter, just after the last summer's harvest. We cultivate the seeds indoors over the winter to help them sprout before we drill our fields from early spring until late May.
"Once the fields are drilled, the seedlings are planted from May through June. Once they're in the ground, our agronomist (a specialist in plant genetics, soil science and meteorology) walks each field on a regular basis to make sure the plants are getting the nutrients they need, taking soil and crop samples as they go. Occasionally, they might spray the plants with trace elements (the nutrients and vitamins naturally found in different types of soil) depending on the quality of the soil in that field.
"We hand-pick our beetroot when they are still small and tender. The ideal beetroot should be slightly bigger than a golf ball - before it gets too big, tough and woody.
"Our dedicated team of pickers hand-select and bunch our beets right there in the fields. The picking is done early in the morning. By mid-morning, the bunches are transferred to our hub where they're washed and packed. Once they're all scrubbed up, Asda comes and collects the boxes, ready to be labelled and distributed. We make sure all of our beets are picked on the very day we hand them over to guarantee maximum freshness."