HC Deb 23 March 1995 vol 257 cc474-5
7. Mr. Tim Smith

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what he is doing to encourage the development of the British gooseberry industry. [13881]

Mr. Jack

We encourage the development of all horticultural produce in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Smith

Does my hon. Friend agree that the gooseberry is a grossly underrated fruit and that gooseberry crumble and gooseberry fool make excellent puddings? What is he doing to promote the gooseberry, particularly the giant gooseberry and the desert gooseberry?

Mr. Jack

My hon. Friend's giant question deserves a giant answer. He may be interested to know that at one time the big gooseberry season was put to the time of year that Members of Parliament thought was a dull time for journalists. On a serious note, I can tell him that with help from the Ministry, the East Malling research station has developed a new large red desert gooseberry which my hon. Friend will find to his taste with when it comes on to the market later this year.

Mr. Tony Banks

Would not this be a safer place in which to work if hon. Members spent more time eating gooseberries rather than goosing.

Mr. Jack

There is a growing demand—[Interruption.] I was almost tempted to say that perhaps that question came from a gooseberry fool, but I shall return to the thrust of my argument. The supermarkets have shown great interest in having more supplies of gooseberries. Once that is achieved, all will benefit from it.