A HEREFORDSHIRE grower claims to have extended Britain’s short-lived asapragus season into November.

While the traditional season lasts only from April to late June, farmer John Chinn is reported to have stretched it to nine months.

Mr Chinn’s late variety produces crops until November, the Fresh Produce Journal reported.

The trial was backed by Marks & Spencer, which has an exclusive deal with Mr Chinn, sold limited edition packs of the asparagus in 10 London stores this month at twice the price of imported Peruvian asparagus.

Mr Chinn told the journal he was investing £2.5 million in polytunnels and infrastructure on land at Cobrey Farms formerly used for strawberries for the new variety, which he declined to name, with the aim of having asparagus available from March until early November by 2012.

"I've been working on this reverse season for five years now. It's cost a lot of money, but we've had tremendous feedback from M&S," he said.

M&S asparagus expert Simon Coupe said: "We've worked closely with our asparagus grower John Chinn to extend the British asparagus season so that we can reduce our reliance on imported varieties.

"Asparagus is a very traditional British vegetable and our new variety is much sweeter. It is great news that we are able to supply delicious tasting British asparagus to our customers for longer. We have a small amount in stores at the moment but we look forward to a bumper crop next year.”