Dec. 12 - A year of wet weather means Christmas dinner will cost more this year with ingredients in short supply, particularly the Brussels sprout. Ivor Bennett reports.
Love them or loathe them, Brussels sprouts are a key ingredient of a British Christmas dinner. But the wet weather this year means there's a lot less of them. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT SAYING: "Normally plants are about 3 feet tall, but these ones are only around half that." Britain grows over 8-thousand acres of sprouts. According to the national farmers union the harvest will be 400 million short this year. Good news perhaps for the fussier festive diners... But for farmers like John Harris in Kent, it doesn't get much worse than this. His farm's already had a third more rain than it normally gets for the year. The fields are more like swamps. SOUNDBITE (English) FARMER JOHN HARRIS, SAYING: "I've been on the farm now for 25 years or so. I can't recall a year as wet as this and from what my father and uncle are saying, you know, exactly the same. They haven't had such a prolonged period of rain. There's been no sun at all has there? It's just been diabolical from a growing point of view." The wet weather across much of western Europe means festive shoppers will be spending a lot more this year. Other Christmas crops have been washed out too. There's enough to go around but the short supply's pushed prices up. Phil Bicknell is from the National Farmers' Union. SOUNDBITE (English) PHIL BICKNELL, CHIEF ECONOMIST, NATIONAL FARMERS UNION, SAYING: "We're seeing some strengthening prices in terms of potatoes, particularly in the last few weeks as the severity of the situation has emerged. We're also seeing higher farm gate prices in terms of carrots and things like parsnips as well." Potatoes have seen the biggest price rise - a 25 kilogram sack is now triple the usual cost. And it's not just the trimmings. Rising feed costs have cooked turkey prices up by 7%. Christmas is the biggest eating day on the calendar. But the higher prices could mean plates won't be piled quite so high this year.