Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 31st March 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  31st March 2017

In a tranquil part of East Sussex, just east of Pulborough is a place called Nutbourne Nursery where Gary Griffiths and his family grow the most amazing selection of Tomatoes. We’ve just started receiving their Mixed Heritage Tomato collection (see pic) and they are amazing. From the the baby ‘Couer de Pigeon’ (Pigeons Heart) to the beefsteak ‘Couer de Boeuf’ (Ox Heart) the flavours are awesome and I recommend them profusely. All the Salad Leaves and Lettuces are all getting cheaper and as we switch over to more home grown produce and we should see prices ease more over time. Dutch Peppers are easing and coming more into line with the Spanish so expect prices to come down over the next couple of weeks. The price of all good Moroccan, Spanish & Dutch Tomatoes are still a bit pricey. English & Dutch Cucumber are cheaper this week and Italian Flat Parsley has dropped back down in price. Avocados are dearer this week especially the Hass variety.

Under Cover grown English Asparagus is now available from Norfolk and Wye Valley but there’s no easing in the price yet. Broccoli is outrageously expensive so be warned! Cauliflower has been good value for a while now but supplies are tighter and prices have jumped up. There’s good English Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Curly Kale around. Mange-Toute & Sugar Snaps are plentiful and prices are lower. If your into podding your own Peas there’s some good Spanish & Italian arrived. Why not try some lovely English Jerusalem Artichokes available, were getting ours from D & J Hayward in Salisbury at present and the quality is excellent.

Pineapples are still VERY expensive and no sign of easing just yet. The quality of Spanish Strawberries is not so good now, so we’re moving over to American and Dutch, prices are similar so still reasonable. Melons remain dear and Galia are the best value at the moment. Peaches & Nectarines are still rubbish so stay away from these. South African Laetitia Plums eat very well so too do their Grapes although the latter are a bit pricier this week.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 24th March 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  24th March 2017

So this week we are officially in Spring and it looks like the weather is warming up. That should bring on the English crops and we can then see a drop in salad prices. At the moment we are seeing the price of lettuces across the board ease in price with the exception of Iceberg Lettuce that has gone up a little this week.  All the Tomatoes are much more expensive this week all bar the Cherry Tomatoes. Peppers are on the increase until the Dutch become more plentiful. We expect to get our first delivery of English Heritage Tomatoes from Nutbourne Nurseries next week. Wye Valley Asparagus is great but expensive.

Broccoli has doubled in price in a week and looks to be this price for a while. Cauliflower is much better value, so too are Courgettes and even the Yellow Courgettes though still expensive are getting cheaper each week. Mange-Toute is plentiful so prices have eased. Potatoes are going up as the we get later in the season and there is a big premium on the best quality ones like ‘Agria’. Aubergines are reasonable and there is still plenty of good value root crops.

As for wild mushrooms, Pied de Mouton are finishing and Girolles are now Portuguese. Morels from China are hit and miss in quality, Trompettes are now from USA so are a bit dearer.

All Citrus seems to be expensive at the moment, Limes have had a hike in price, so too has White Grapefruit, Nardicots and Oranges. Pineapples remain dear and in short supply. Spanish Strawberries remain good value, so too are Blueberries. Wye valley Rhubarb is exceptional but pricey. Peaches & Nectarines are like bullets, so best avoided. No Apricots or Litchis available.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 17th March 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  17th March 2017

It’s Paddy’s Day today and nothing is more synonymous than the good old Clover. It’s part of the pea family, and its blossom is actually a bunch of little pea-like blossoms, called ”wings and keels.” Clover is also a native of Europe and western Asia but has been used as a pasture crop worldwide. And while there are few pasture in the Arctic, clover grows from the top of the earth to the bottom and all around, nearly every location on the rotation. Though well-known as totally edible, from blossom to root, there are more tastier wild plants. Some call it a survival food and maybe so as only the blossoms are truly pleasant to human tastes, the leaves are an acquired or tolerated taste….

That’s enough time given to Paddy’s Day, at least it helped fill the page as there’s not a lot else to say!

There is the first of this years English Asparagus to get excited about that’s just started and has been grown under glass in the Wye Valley, as you would expect prices are very steep and unaffordable for most caterers. Also from Wye Valley we now have Rhubarb, again a bit pricey at present. Broccoli and Aubergines are more expensive this week, Courgettes should be a little cheaper by next week  and the English Leeks are very good and a fair Price. Cauliflowers remains a good buy still. English Purple Sprouting Broccoli is good, so too are all the English Cabbages.

Dutch Peppers will be starting soon, after the initial steep prices we should see prices beginning to ease. Dutch Tomatoes are now available but they are about 40% dearer than the Spanish or Moroccan Tomatoes at the moment. All Tomatoes are on the increase and will be more noticeable next week. Tarragon is still a problem and availability is sporadic.

White Grapefruit is very expensive and I can only assume that there is a supply problem. Ruby/Pink Grapefruit do not seem affected? English Braeburn Apples are starting to peter out. South African William Pears are very good, so we’re moving away from the Comice to them. White Grapes are dearer than the black but they are gorgeous and Massive too!

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 10th March 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  10th March 2017

I was going to say that what a pleasure it was to have some sun and warm weather after yesterday’s lovely day, but when I went out a short while ago it was raining!

So anyway…. the Mexican Asparagus glut was short lived and prices are on the way up, Kenyan Tenderstem Broccoli is very good and plentiful so we’re hoping will get a bit cheaper. Spanish Aubergines and Broccoli are up a little this week but English Cauliflowers remain good value. Spanish Green Courgettes are still reasonable but the yellow are extortionate. English Green & Purple Curly Kale is very good, so too is the Black Cabbage ( Cavalo Nero) though the latter is dearer this week. Baby Piccolo Parsnips and Baby Purple & Orange Chantenay Carrots make a change are readily available.

Most varieties of Wild Mushrooms are available and the quality is good, it’s best to call us if you want the latest price and availability as it does change daily.

Iceberg Lettuce is still the best value lettuce, the others are all slowly coming down as volumes rise, Cucumbers are up this week but I think that is a blip and not a trend. Celery is still on the dear side but the quality has improved. Cherry Tomatoes are up this week too but we recommend you stay away from the Yellow Cherry Toms as their 2-3 times the price of the red! Tarragon remains very tight and we’re cut down everyday on our order.

I recommend the South African Red ‘Laetitia’ Plums as they are very good, (I just had one)! The Spanish Strawberries are still good value but the Raspberries have jumped in price. The English Conference pears are eating well and so too are the English Braeburns. English Indoor Rhubarb is very good but the Outdoor is much cheaper so please specify what you need. Peaches & Nectarines remain poor quality so avoid them, Apricots are still ludicrously expensive and not that good. Cherries are available, but again they’re very expensive. There are some Moroccan Clementines arrive on the market but they’re not as good as the Nardicots yet.

As mentioned before Wild Garlic Leaf is available, if you want the Wild Garlic Flowers you’ll have to wait any week or two.

Also, if you want something a ‘bit on the wild side’, Young Nettles are now available. So here’s a few ‘NETTLE FACTS‘: Nettles as a food can be traced back as far as the Egyptians who used them to make Nettle seed oil, they contain nearly as much calcium as cheese, Nettle roots make good tooth picks and because they’re high in nutrients they’re are classed as a Superfood.

Ok, I might have made up the tooth pick fact but none the less they’re worth incorporating in your menu.