Finding enough summertime labour has often been a struggle for British farmers. Factory workers used to move south en masse to enjoy a family holiday while picking fruit or hops. In recent years, the indigenous population has turned its nose up at agricultural work, and farmers have come to rely on importing Bulgarians and Romanians.
Uncertainty around migrants’ rights and Brexit led to a decline in worker numbers last year, and around 16m apples were left to rot in orchards. A near-shutdown on European movement has only deepened the crisis.