Higher temperatures and “enough sunshine” last week helped to deliver the first commercial batch of strawberries to hit supermarket shelves in Sussex on Wednesday.

Following months of rain, temperatures in the high teens last week aided the growth of more than 150 tonnes of fruit, approximately 375,000 boxes of berries, ready for sale.

The strawberries coming to Sussex Tesco stores are of the Malling Centenary variety and grown by the Summer Berry Company, near Chichester in West Sussex.

Summer Berry Company commercial director Jack Darnes said: “This year so far is a good example – temperatures are higher on average than in the last five years, but light levels are lower than last five-year average.

“We’ve seen some crops come earlier thanks to mild weather in winter and spring, but sugar levels have been slightly lower than usual because of the low light levels.”

Tesco strawberry buyer Callum Baker added: “If the weather stays relatively good from now then we’ll seen UK-wide availability of British-grown strawberries by mid-May but obviously if temperatures rise a bit and we get more sunshine then that could come sooner.”

Mr Baker said the start of the British strawberry season puts a “smile on people’s faces” especially after the rainy months.

“There is always a lot of excitement about the first British strawberries being picked because their arrival means that summer is not too far away,” he said.

“And of course there is plenty to look forward to with such a summer of sport ahead, including Wimbledon, the event most associated with strawberries.”