Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 30th September 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – September 30th 2016

One of my favourite treats of autumn is munching through a hand full of Wet Walnuts. These are fresh walnuts that have not been dried for keeping. They are crunchy with a milky, mild walnut taste and excellent with a soft cheese, in a salad or a sauce and you don’t need nutcrackers to open them. Another Autumnal favourite is Pumpkins & Squashes, there is a vast selection available and is a must for your menu. For a bit of colour there is a Baby Chantenay mix of White, Purple & Orange Carrots. We have some Lovely Spring Green form Baxters Farm in Lancashire and were getting the last of the Runner Beans & Purple Sprouting Broccoli from N.E. Revill & Son in Worcs. Unfortunately the English Peas & Broad Beans are finished now. Cauliflower, Broccoli and Courgettes are still good value. We have also had in some astounding New Season English Torpedo Banana Shallots from Parrish Farm in Bedfordshire. We’ve now switched to French Lollo & Oakleaf, but the English Cos, Little Gem and Iceberg is still very good. The Wild Mushroom selection is as good as you’d expect for this time of year.

Pineapples continue to ease as more arrive, Canadian Cherries are still ridiculously expensive but are quite good. Peaches & Nectarines may still look okay but really should be avoided as they really don’t eat very well. Brazilian Honeydew & Water Melons remain on the pricey side, but there are Cantaloupe Melons coming from Italy and Brazil so they have eased in price. This week we’ve had some humongous Blueberries from Peru and they eat well too. English Raspberries are still good but Strawberries whether English or Continental remain a problem in quality. The small French Mirabelle Plums are quite nice but the Portuguese Laetitia Plums are really good. English Early Windsor & Cox’s Apples are not to be forgotten or the Crispy early Conference Pears.  Still no Lychees available.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 23rd September 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – September 23rd 2016

It’s official – today is the first full day of Autumn after yesterdays Equinox (where the day and night are exactly the same length) and there is plenty of Autumnal produce around to celebrate it. For instance all the Root Vegetables are in their prime now but if your bored with the regular ones then the Chervil Root and Parsley Root season has just kicked off. It does look similar to Parsnips but the taste is completely different, unfortunately it is twice the price. The French Quince Pear season has just started also and although related to apple and pear family, their taste couldn’t be more different with its bitter taste until cooked, the French Pears are the tastiest above all its European rivals and is excellent for jellies. Also from France is the Roscoff Onions that are the stereotypical stringed Onions that ‘Onion Johnny’ the Frenchman delivered on his bicycle in the 1950’s  and what a lovely onion it is and is only grown in the Roscoff area in Brittany. English Cauliflowers & Savoy Cabbages from C.J. Bean in Worth, Kent are a really good size and excellent quality at the moment and prices are very reasonable. Broccoli is also a good price this week. Courgettes still remain a good buy. We’re expecting more produce to arrive from Spain over the next few weeks and this will ease the price of Aubergines and Peppers. 

Pineapples continue to ease in price but Limes are getting even dearer! Peaches & Nectarines are past their best now and tend to be either hard or soft and pappy. We’ve moved over to Peruvian Mandarins for an easy-peeler but they’re still on the dear side. White Grapes are expected to be in very short supply so prices will rise. We are trialling out a new Red Apple from New Zealand called ‘NZ Queen’ it is a bi-coloured apple with a stunning deep red skin colour. They are very crisp and juicy, with a sweet taste and clean white flesh so let us know what you think. English Strawberries are hanging on in there and are still good, so too are the English Blueberries & Raspberries

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 16th September 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – September 16th 2016

Oh no……, not Brussels Sprouts! You know Christmas is only round the corner when these appear on the market. Don’t get me wrong as I love Xmas and I don’t even mind Brussels Sprouts, but I just wish it wouldn’t come around this quick.

Whilst on this theme… Parsnips are more plentiful and a little cheaper, loose Chestnuts are not readily available yet but there are some expensive French Chestnuts in their Cobs available. This time of year there are some great Pumpkins and Squashes around and they greatly vary in colour, size and taste. They should definitely be on your menu somewhere, some of the varieties available are Harlequin, Onion, Gem, Crown Prince and Kabocha Squash, far tastier than our own classic Orange Pumpkin variety. English Corn-on-Cob is still a good buy and Courgettes arriving from just about every European country keep the prices reasonable. English leeks are much better now and more plentiful so we expect prices to ease. Mid Potatoes are getting dearer which is unusual for this time of year. English Broccoli is both good quality and cheaper in price. The French Celeriac with leaf looks outstanding at the moment, a lot better than the English unfortunately. The price of Peppers regardless of colour are all over the place at the moment, so too is Aubergines as there are Spanish arriving too.

Lemons are finally getting cheaper, but the same cannot be said about the Limes, there seems to be enough around but prices are still quite steep. Pineapples remain expensive also and there’s no sign of easing just yet. English Russet Apples, the true classic apple of ‘Waldorf Salad’ is now available, also English Cox’s Apples are starting to arrive. English Victoria Plums may have all but finished but there are still some English ‘Marjorie’s Seedling’ Plums about that are a redder looking variety. If your one of those people that love crispy hard English Conference Pears then now the time to buy them. English Blueberries & Raspberries are still good but the Strawberries are coming to an end and we”ll probably switch to Dutch or Belgium shortly. Lastly, forget about Cherries, the price is horrendous and the quality is now poor and there are still no Lychees available.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 9th September 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – September 9th 2016

Cobnuts are now at their best. A cultivar of the Hazelnut and grown in the UK since the 16th Century, these are great eaten as they are or roasted and added to salads or Game dishes. Other not so obvious English seasonal produce available is Purple/Green Curly Kale, Kohl Rabi. Cavolo Nero, Fennel, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Bobby Beans. Also the English Romanesco is a good size and reasonably priced so too is Broccoli and lastly Baby Kale is great for salads. English Corn-on-Cob is such good value and full of flavour, English Bunch Spinach is good but the large leaf French Spinach is better value. Green Courgettes remain a good Buy and Yellow Courgettes are not overly expensive too. Peppers across the board have eased in price. Nutbourne Nursery in West Sussex are still turning out a delightful selection of Heritage Tomatoes in their mixed box. English Lollo Biando & Oakleaf are coming to an end and we will switch to the continent lettuces if the the quality drops. Mid Potatoes have crept up in price over the last week for no obvious reason and there are still Jersey Royal Ware & Mid Potatoes available.

Extra Sweet Pineapples remain expensive but there seems to be more available so we expect the price to ease over the next week or so. Lemons have remained expensive incessantly but finally prices are easing. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Melons, Galia, Honeydew & Water Melons, are all much higher in price. Cantaloupe seem about the best priced. English Victoria Plums are now ending and have risen in price. English Discovery Apples are ending too but there are some lovely Worcester & Early Windsor Apples to compensate. Easy Peelers are a problem, The South African Nardicots that we’re buying now are the best we can find, but they are expensive and have quite a few pips! English Wye Valley Blueberries are very good and so too are the English Raspberries. We have some good Canadian Cherries available but they are very expensive.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 2nd September 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – September 2nd 2016

Ever since my cheffy days I’ve always found Pastry Chefs as a bit mad and even back in 1666 on this day (sept 2nd) one of them was blamed for starting the Great Fire of London!

Unfortunately they never had the choice of produce that is available today, we’ve got some great English fruits available in the way of Discovery Apples, Victoria Plums, Kentish Cobnuts to name but a few. Blueberries from the Wye Valley are excellent and we have just started English Conference Pears but you will need reinforced teeth to eat them! From the Continent there very good Mirabelle PlumsGreengages, Fresh Chestnuts in their cobs and Wet Walnuts, but the latter two are in Peter’s words ‘F**ing expensive!’ There some lovely Apricots and Flat Peaches from Spain that are reasonably priced. Pineapples are in really short supply and are expensive, unfortunately a few other lines are still expensive like Melons, Lemons and Oranges (Galia has doubled in price over the last 10 days). The best buy at the moment is Turkish Figs, not only are they cheaper, but they eat fantastically. Lastly, Elderberries are all but finished but we may have a few days left.

Potatoes are easing a little, historically they normally drop in price in September so we’ll have to wait and see. We have been buying some good sized, bold Cauliflowers and Savoy Cabbage from Francis & Son from Lincolnshire. English Broccoli is easing and hopefully will continue to get cheaper. All the English Peas-in-Pod, Broad Beans, Runner Beans and Bobby Beans are still good and plentiful. English Corn-on-Cob are still a good buy, plump and beautifully sweet. We’ll probably switch to French Spinach in a few days as the price has eased. Courgettes continue to be a good buy and finally the Pepper price is starting to ease but Aubergines have shot up in price.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 26th August 2016

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – August 26th 2016

Oh no…… English Pumpkins are now available, I can’t believe it’s that time of year already! This means Autumn is only around the corner, where’s the summer gone?

Anyway, in addition to the regular Pumpkins there is an ever growing selection if English & European Pumpkins and Squashes available. Some of the English Salad lettuces are coming to an end and we will be swapping to French if we see the quality drop, but the Cos & Little Gems Lettuces from Bett’s in Kent are excellent quality still. English Broccoli remains dear and the is a small amounts of Purple Sprouting Broccoli available. We expected the Potatoes to ease in price but its actually gone up a little! English Heritage Tomatoes are still very good and English Cob-Nuts are much better now. Wild Elderberries are coming to an end, so make the most of them while you can. There is a number of new Micro Cresses available, like Chickweed, Quinoa and Agastache Flower , but there is too many to list, give us a call for more information as some are only available by pre-order. English Corn-on-Cob is great value and tastes great.

As we move over to New Season European Apples there will be an initial small price increase until volumes grow, we’ve just started with French Granny Smiths and the quality is much better. Braeburn Apples are now from New Zealand and are very crisp. In addition to New Season English Discovery Apples, there is Early Windsor and Bramley Apples. Pineapples remain expensive. Damsons and Victoria Plums are more plentiful and quality is excellent. You can’t go wrong with Turkish Figs at the moment, they are a good price and full of flavour. Pears have been a problem of late, so we’re trying a Packham Pear from Argentina so let us know what you think. All the English Berries are still available, but the best Strawberries are still at a premium price.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – August 19th

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – August 19th 2016

Victoria Plums from Kent have started and to me they are the best tasting plums, their season is very short and they don’t keep very well once their ripe, so order only what you need daily. Damsons are available too, we class them as plums, but their actually part of the Rose family and make excellent Jams & Jellies. All the English Berries are available but the quality of Strawberries has been as issue of late. There are some lovely French White Peaches available and the quality is second to none but they are a bit pricey. Honeydew Melons are getting short as the Spanish season ends and prices are rising daily and Canteloupe Melons are not far behind.. Galia Melon is still plentiful and good value at the moment. Discovery Apples are great, but their not around for long so get them now, more English Apples will come available of the next few weeks. Fraises des Bois are available but sporadic in supply, they do turn very quickly so it’s best to pre-order in advance and we know they will be fresh.

Dan Lloyd of Worcester is a great grower and his Runner Beans are excellent at the moment. So too is the Cavalo Nero from B. E. Bransden. Rainbow Chard is another great veg, very vibrant in colour with a good dark leaf. Cauliflowers remain dear, but Broccoli has eased a little. Parsnips are English now so the prices will ease. Another flush of New Season Jersey Mids in 5kg boxes are now available. Shallots are much better now that we’re on the new season stock. English Courgettes remain plentiful so prices are very reasonable. English Lollo Rosso, Biando, Oakleaf are all good quality and value, so too is the English Pousse & Rocket.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – August

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – August 2016

Ahh August, good weather and the the start of the Grouse shooting season on the Glorious 12th, Partidge and Pheasant comes later. Plenty of English Berries around for your summer pudding – Blueberries, Redcurrants, White Currants, Blackberries, Raspberries & Strawberries. Discovery Apples, as usual are the first of the English Apples to arrive on the market and will only be at their best for about a month. English Plums have started but are still a little under-ripe, so I suggest waiting another week. Wild Elderberries are available, again they are only short lived so make the most of them now or bottle them up and store for later. Cob-Nuts have started, but we only have the French at the moment, the English should start soon. Also from France there are Greengages & Mirabelle Plums. Lemons remain ridiculously expensive and no sign of easing. Spanish Apricots are very nice, so are all manner of Peaches and Nectarines whether it be flat, round, white etc. Cherries are a lot shorter and coming mainly from the USA so prices are high, but quality is good. The best tasting east peeler we’ve found at the moment is a Nardorcott variety from Peru.

Finally we’re rid of last season’s Potatoes, therefore prices will ease as more new season is lifted and quality is MUCH better. This will also greatly ease the Jacket Potato price over the next month or two. English Corn-on-Cob are now available and much better tasting than the imports. English Broccoli  & Cauliflower are dearer as supplies are short, Cucumbers and Aubergines are also more expensive. Curly Kale from Lancashire is very good so too is all the English lettuces, we currently getting some great ones from L.J. Betts from Kent. All the English Peas, Runner Beans, Broad Beans, Bobby Beans are all in their prime. English Cavolo Nero & Romanesco is good and English Courgettes remain a good buy. Nutbourne Nursery in Sussex still have a great selection of Heritage Tomatoes in their 5kg mixed boxes. The large leaf French Spinach is still dear so we still recommend the English bunched Spinach as a good alternative.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – June

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – June 2016

Finally the good weather has brought on the British Produce and Prices and availability has improved for June. Cornish Mid Potatoes have started and are very good. Jersey Royal Potatoes have eased in price as well. English Asparagus is plentiful and available in many sizes, there is also Purple and White, though the French/Belgium White Asparagus does look better. Wild Asparagus is still available. English Spring Cabbage and Hispi is very good, so to is the Curly Kale. Spanish Broccoli is still very expensive, but the English is due to start soon so hopefully prices will ease. Cauliflower is better value now, so too is Spanish Courgettes and Aubergines, though Leeks remain a bit pricey. The first of the English Peas in Pod have arrived but as they are few, they are expensive. Most of the English Lettuces have started and are much better value and good quality. English Tomatoes are available but at a premium to the Dutch/Belgium. English Heritage Tomatoes from Nutbourne Nursery have a really good selection in and taste amazing. Wild Garlic is still available and has the flower on it too.

All Melons are getting cheaper by the week as more arrive from the continent, predominately from Spain. The Cantaloupe Melons from Italy are much better for only a little extra in price. Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Apricots are also getting more plentiful and eating better now. English & Belgium Strawberries are very good but holding up in price, Early English Raspberries have begun and prices are easing. Blueberries are also reasonable. Easy Peeler’s are going to remain expensive for a while yet as there is very little around that are any good. Lemons too are very expensive, though Spanish has started and as volumes increase, prices should ease.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report September 15th 2015

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report September 15th 2015

It’s not officially Autumn until 23rd September, but the cooler weather feels like its here already. To emphasize the Autumnal feel we have a good selection of Winter Squashes available now. From the plain old Spaghetti Squash to the warted looking Pattison Strie (list of current availability and forth coming varieties available), there’s plenty to choose from.  Individual Baby Pumpkins are available too. If you need something for an Autumn theme display then there are some lovely Gould’s available. Plump, Large French Chestnuts have also started, but come with a hefty price tag. Continental Wet Walnuts have arrived, so too have Quinces. English Corn-on-Cob is excellent and a good buy. English Peas are coming to an end but we’re still getting regular supplies of English Broad Beans & Runner Beans. White Asparagus is very expensive, but the Green Asparagus is ok. Tomatoes are getting pricier by the day and the price of English Iceberg Lettuce has risen. English Lollo & Oakleaf are still reasonable and good quality. The Wild Mushroom selection has greatly improved now as we approach Autumn.

Squash Varieties currently available: Onion, Gem, Pattison Strie, Patty Pan Yellow, Spaghetti, Blue Ballet, Crown Prince, Casperita and Harlequin

Coming soon: Turban, Acorn, Kaboocha

Turkish Figs are plentiful and prices have reduced. English Victoria and the darker Marjorie Seedling Plums are good and eating well. English Discovery Apples have finished their short season, but we have Early Windsor, Coxes & Bramley available now. English Raspberries are good, but we’re buying the more consistent Dutch Strawberries rather than the English. Oranges & Lemons remain dear, so are Water Melons & Galia Melons. French Greengages have come to an end, so too are Spanish Peaches & Nectarines ending, however we do have some excellent French Peaches available but they come at a premium price.