There was a good chance that at Christmas dinners from Arbroath to Avignon people were tucking into sprouts produced in Auchmithie.
PJ Stirling Fruit Farms, based at Windyhills Farm on the outskirts of the town, was awarded the contract to supply the entire range of prepared Brussels sprouts for Marks & Spencer.
The high street retailer operates stores throughout Britain and France meaning that the team at Windyhills Farm have been producing hundreds of thousands of the brassica oleracea to meet the demand.
According to managing director Peter Stirling it is a big achievement for his firm. He said: “It’s very difficult, and we only really got selected for sprouts because we were supplying Marks & Spencer with strawberries already. We’ve supplied strawberries for them for 15 years.
“We have been supplying them with sprouts for the last 12 years, and last year we were at 80 per cent and then this year one of the other suppliers’ quality wasn’t as good as ours so they decided to promote us up to 100 per cent.
“It’s the first time they’re ever given someone 100 per cent of the prepared sprouts.
“It’s a real feather in our cap. As I said, I don’t think anyone in the UK has done it before to supply all the sprouts from one farm in the UK.”
PJ Stirling also supplies a range of sprout packages, including sprouts on stalks, baby sprouts and shredded sprouts.
The secret of their Brussels’ success is down to the temperate location and a lack of pests and disease.
Peter said: “Our sprouts are blemish free. They look spotless and they’ve got a deep healthy green colour. Quite a lot of sprouts are over-trimmed to get diseased leaves off and they can be quite pale.
“They last twice as long as standard sprouts so there’s less waste with them because of that and they last longer in people’s fridges and homes.”
And according to Peter eating their sprouts is probably better for you than you realise, as a result of the high selenium content. He explained: “It helps with depression. A lot of Northern Europe suffers from a deficiency in selenium because of the dark climate. Our sprouts are very high in selenium and Marks & Spencer have our sprouts in a range called Active Health.
“I think in terms of vegetables it is already a super food, it’s just people are starting to discover that.”