Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 21st January 2020
Poor weather in Spain has hampered supplies and subsequently some lines have jumped in price. Aubergines, Courgettes and Cucumbers have been hit the hardest and supplies are in really short supply at the moment. Peppers have crept up a little, so too has Broccoli. The Spanish Tender Stem Broccoli is very good and reasonably priced. As Tomatoes are coming from Morocco too, prices are reasonable and Cherry Tomatoes are plentiful. English January King, Savoy & Primo Cabbages are great value, Hispi Cabbage from Portugal is very good too.
French Sandy Carrots also known as ‘Carotte de Sables’ are available and grown all along the beautiful coast of La Manche in a tiny coastal area in Normandy and have a lovely flavour. Onion & Crown Prince Squashes are two of the best tasting and still available, a great addition to any wintry menu. Dutch Leeks & English Carrots are good value and can offset some of the dearer produce around. It is good to see English growers stepping up their game as we have some superb quality Banana Shallots from Parrish Farm in Shefford, Bedfordshire.
All Wild Mushrooms are up in price but Girolles are very pricey and not the best quality either. Tarragon supplies are very tight too.
Peaches & Nectarines are still not very good, but the dark South African Plums called ‘Sapphire’ are scrumptious and eat very well. There is still a few Apricots available but their coming to an end now. Forced Rhubarb from the infamous 9 mile West Yorkshire Triangle is as good as you would expect and in full swing.
It good to see that Spanish Growers are doing their bit for the environment as the latest delivery of fresh Raspberries are packed in 100% recyclable/compostable boxes.
Spanish Strawberries are quite plentiful, so too are Litchis. Honeydew & Water Melons are in short Supply but Galia & Canteloupe seem OK. Blood Oranges are still good but ending now. There are some sporadic supplies of Cherries around but they are pricey.
Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 26th November 2019
If your looking for something to brighten up a plate then you can’t go wrong with Rainbow Chard at this time of year. Rainbow chard is an earthy nutritional powerhouse — an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, as well as a good source of iron,magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre. Another good vegetables from the same family is Kalettes, its a branded hybrid and is a cross between Kale and Brussels Sprouts, again its very nutritious and has a lovely nutty flavour. If your pushed for time we are now stocking Prepped Sprouts, but if you are needing Prepped Produce this time of year you will need to order in advance because we cannot guarantee next day because of the sheer volume at the moment.
Broccoli & Cauliflower are very expensive at the moment and due to the recent floods, Cabbage & Spring Greens will be short too. This has had a knock on effect to Tender Stem Broccoli which is also more expensive. Although Yellow Courgettes have come down in price, they are still roughly three times the price of regular Green Courgettes. The Dutch Leeks are very good and reasonable at the moment. The French Lollo Rosso & Oakleaf growers are struggling to keep up with demand at present so their price has jumped up. The volumes of Coriander & Dill coming through are very tight at the moment, but I don’t see it becoming not available. All Tomatoes in general are reasonably priced and plentiful.
Strawberries have eased from the ludicrously high prices of late but Blackberries are quite dear. Although Brazilian Figs are now available, they are expensive. South African Peaches & Nectarines are available but not recommended yet as they are very small and very hard. We’re mainly buying Clementines rather than Satsumas at the moment because they eat far better and worth the extra pennies. The English Braeburn & Cox Apples are still very good and reasonable. The firmer Italian ‘Angeleno’ Plums are about the only ones worth buying at the moment. Still no Apricots at the moment but we are expecting the South African to start very soon.
Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 5th November 2019
Now the weather is much colder and damper our tastes turn to heartier foods, so now is the time to take advantage of buying Root Vegetables as they are the best value this time of year. As well as the regular Carrots, Turnips & Swede, there are Heritage varieties to spruce up the menu. There’s also the Baby Chantenay Carrots & Piccolo Baby Parsnips. English Jersusalem Artichokes with their nutty taste are a very good to addition to many a dish.
French Roscoff Onions are available, these were the original onion farmers that gave rise to the classic British stereotype of Frenchmen in berets carrying strings of onions on bicycles, as much of their business was in the UK. They gained AOC status in 2009 for their unique flavour, sweetness and being high in vitamin C.
English Savoy Cabbage from Boston, Lincolnshire is another great winter vegetable, so too is the Tenderstem Broccoli from Barfoots Farm, Botley. Frissee, Iceberg & Cos Lettuce that is now from the continent is quite expensive. Yellow Courgettes remain expensive and no sign of them coming down yet. The selection of Pumpkins & Squashes that are available is getting tighter, but there’s still good varieties available.
Dutch Indoor Rhubarb is still expensive. Figs are almost non existent and the ones that are around are very expensive, best avoided. Strawberries have been very expensive but have eased in price for now, South African Oranges, Mexican/Colombian Limes & Kumquats are pricey too. Spanish Okistsu Satsumas are the choice of easy peeler at the moment and their reasonably priced, there are some good Clementines available but they are dearer. Even though there a few Peaches & Nectarines available they are poor quality and do not eat very well and are not recommended. All the Melons are mainly coming from Brazil at the moment and prices are reasonable.
Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 8th October 2019
The Autumn brings a pleasant change to your menu, the Game season is now underway bringing a welcome change so we have all the seasonal delights to accompany them. French Fresh Chestnuts, Cranberries & Redcurrants. The Pumpkin & Squash season is now upon us too from Onion, Turban, Iron Bark, Kabocha, Acorn to Baby Pumpkins & your regular Halloween Pumpkin. Brussels Sprouts & Tops are now readily available, so too is the selection of Brassicas: English Green, Variegated & Purple Curly Kale, Black Cabbage & Purple Sprouting Broccoli and they’re all good quality. English Cauliflowers are getting easier in price and English Broccoli is reasonable too. Plum Vine & Yellow Cherry Tomatoes are very expensive at the moment. English Lollo Rosso & Oakleaf is coming to an end and when we switch to continental Lettuces they will get dearer. English Runner Beans are also all but finished but there is string less Flat Beans available.
Easy Peelers are to change from Nardorcotts to Clemantines and Leafy Clementines are available too. European Peaches & Nectarines are past they’re best and very hit and miss now in quality. The Turkish Figs that have been reasonably priced of late are now about to get dearer as supplies dry up. English Russet, Gala, Early Windsor & Gala Apples are very good. English Raspberries are still available but the bulk of the Strawberries are now Dutch/Belgium. The supplies of European Melons coming through now are also much tighter now that the season is ending and prices are rising daily. Dutch Indoor Rhubarb has started but it is very thin and not worth the higher price tag yet. Limes are reasonable but Lemons have jumped in price and are likely to get dearer.
Elder Flowers are great right now (on a dry day that is!). The flowers appear from the end of May/beginning of June. The cream coloured flower heads are honey scented blossoms that are crisp and somewhat juicy with an aromatic scent and flavour. The most common use is to make an Elderberry cordial, but there are many uses – they can be put into salads, added to fruit fools, tempura battered or simply added to sugar are all but a few of its uses.
English Strawberries are much better, English Raspberries & Currants are slowly picking up in volume too. Spanish Galia melon represent the best value as Canteloupe, Honeydew & Water Melon are still at a premium. South African Forelle Pears remain the best eating Pear. Peruvian Satsumas peel and eat very well, hopefully they’ll be around for a while. English Gooseberries are available and Dutch Black & White Currants are too. Peaches, Nectarines & Apricots are at their best right now. Cherries from across the continent are very good and the best fruits are at a premium.
The French New Season Carrots are so much better and worth the extra pennies. Large Onions will remain expensive for the medium term but Red Onions have eased in price. As usual for this time of year supplies of English Summer Cauliflower get tight and prices can vary and unfortunately the size is generally smaller too! Portuguese Tender Stem Broccoli, Savoy & Hispi Cabbage is very good.
Monks beard has finished, Nettles are sporadic so need to be pre-ordered and Blue Meat & Watermelon Radish have both finished. English Broccoli is up this week. French Celeriac is really expensive so we moved over to Dutch for the moment. English Broad Beans & Peas in Pods are very good, no Runners yet though. English Asparagus remains very popular still and we still have a week or two to go.
May is always a good month with lots of UK & European produce coming into season. Unfortunately they all start at a premium until volumes increase.
However some Spanish Fruits like Blueberries & Blackberries are reasonable, plus Peaches & Nectarines have come down and there are some lovely Flat Peaches available too. Also from Spain are some good sized Apricots that eat well too. We buy English Strawberries where possible but they are still a bit hit and miss so Belgium have to fill the gap sometimes. Redcurrants remain very expensive.Italian Cantaloupe Melons eat well and the Spanish Watermelons are better now. The choice of Pears is limited so we’re going to give the Argentinian Packham Pears a go as there is quality issues in the Conference Pear. There’s an assortment of European Cherries available but price reflects quality. Peruvian Satsumas are the Easy Peeler choice at present.
Onions are in VERY short supply and there is no cheap alternative. We’re having to buy Chilean Onions that are expensive but are very good. Leeks too are very expensive. As we approach the end of English Main Crop Carrots we move onto Continental Carrots, quality improves but prices will rise. English Asparagus is now in full swing and our ‘Portwood’ marque is very good. There is also English White & Purple Asparagus available too. Hispi, Tenderstem Broccoli & Savoy Cabbage is all Portuguese at the moment as quality is better. All Lettuces with the exception of Curly Endive are English now. Italian Broad Beans & Peas in the Pod are very good, English will start soon. Mange-Toute & Sugar Snap are dearer this week.
Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 19th March 2019
Supposedly only ten days to go until Brexit and no-ones the wiser on how it is going to impact prices and supplies yet so forecasting prices for the following month is more wishful thinking than anything else? So we’ll just have to get on as best we can…….
In the meantime we have seen Kenyan Fine Beans fall back in price now that there is more coming through. Brussels Sprouts/Tops are completely finished now, Spanish & Red Onions are good but both still relatively expensive. Wild Garlic & Young Nettles are readily available now and so too are Jersey Royal Potatoes grown under cover hence the dear prices. Yellow Courgettes are at a much more acceptable price now and Green Courgettes have eased too. English Cauliflower are a good size and cheaper this week, English Purple/White Sprouting Broccoli is excellent too. Italian Fennel & Flat parsley have eased and there is some good Italian Black Cabbage available as the English has come to an end. The first of the Italian Peas in Pod & Broad Beans lovely and very tasty. The English Asparagus has started as early as ever but prices are really expensive as these are two months earlier than the main crop.
Cucumbers are quite reasonable as there are plenty around and they’re bringing the English crop on early. Peppers are still pricey, especially the Green, Beef Tomatoes are expensive at present to. English Heritage Tomatoes have started to trickle onto the market.
English Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb has come to an end now. Bananas continue to creep up in price, so too are good quality grapes. Spanish Strawberries remain good value, but other Berries are not so cheap. We’ve moved onto Nardicotts but they are dearer then the Clems were. English Cox’s Apples are finished but we still have English Gala Apples that are eating well. No Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots available or that are edible.
Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 15th January 2019
It may be cold here but nowhere near as cold as parts of the continent. Italy had some heavy snow and this impacted on the price of Italian produce, Fennell, Spinach,Bunched Rocket & Flat Parsley jumped in price but some are starting to ease now. There’s plenty of Brassicas to choose from that are reasonably priced: Savoy, January King & Primo Cabbage, Portuguese Hispi, Brussells Sprout and Curly Kale. On the subject of Kale, we have some lovely Kale Flower Sprouts (Kallettes) that just need a little sauteing off a charming accompaniment to many a dish. English Jerusalem ‘Chokes’ are still great.
UK Onions, like Potatoes continue to be a problem from last years hot summer, Large onions remain dear and trying to find a good quality Red Onion remain challenging and you have to pay a hefty premium to get good ones. Good English Mid Potatoes are hard to find hence the increase in price. Spanish Broccoli is dearer but Aubergines & Courgettes remain VERY expensive and that’s not going to change in the short term. Dill, Mint & Coriander are all tighter in supply but we’re confident of continuous supply. Parsnips have come back down in price but Cauliflower may go up later in the week as supplies tighten.
All the Lettuces are on the higher end of prices, Tomatoes & Cucumbers are all on the increase too. Cherry Tomatoes remain reasonable. Unusually, we have some great English Celeriac form ‘Bucks Farm’ in Spalding, Lincs. This versatile product is an underrated vegetable/Salad and should be used more.
This is the time of year for Seville ‘Marmalade’ Oranges so start jarring yours up now! Also Blood Oranges are available but only for a month or so. Another seasonal fruit for January is English Forced Rhubarb from the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in West Yorkshire. They Grow it in the dark in warm conditions and the result is long pink tender stems that are less tart than their outdoor cousins. Apricots, Peaches & Nectarines from South Africa still available but not that cheap. Pineapple are reasonable but all Melons are quite dear as they are all coming from the Southern Hemisphere. Clementines are the choice for easy peelers as the Nardicots are a lot dearer. Moroccan Strawberries are ending and we may see a jump in price as we move over to Spanish.