Focus On… Avocadoes

Avocadoes

What’s so super about it?
Avocados are brimming with essential nutrients, including potassium, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a so-called nutrient booster; when eaten with other foods, avocados enable the body to better absorb cancer-fighting nutrients, such as carotenoids, found in vegetables that include spinach and carrots.
Eating avocados has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and they are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid, which offers significant protection against breast cancer.
The potassium content in avocados regulates blood pressure and helps guard against heart disease and strokes, as well as aiding digestion and helping the body flush out toxins.

Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus

Wild Asparagus is an outstanding vegetable and is our native asparagus and is endemic to Western Europe.
Recent evidence indicates that wild asparagus is a separate species to garden asparagus. The barley like stems reach about 16-24 mm long. The flowers are small and green and produce bright red berries later. The UK has 28 sites on the coasts of southern and south-west England and Wales. Elsewhere, the species occurs on the coasts of many European countries.
It is rare and threatened in Belgium and Ireland, and may be extinct in Germany, but is locally abundant in Spain and parts of France where most of our supplies come from. It mainly occurs within a few hundred metres of the sea in open, grassy vegetation, more rarely in course scrub. It generally occurs on sea cliffs and occasionally on sand dunes.

Pineberries & Strasberries

Pineberries & Strasberries

Strasberry

The ‘Strasberry’ or ‘Framberry’ was “born” in South America in the 1900s but virtually disappeared for the last half century until some Dutch growers rediscovered it. It is a fast growing hardy fruit that has a unique fragrance and  aromatic flavour that your taste buds will find confusing.

Pineberry

They look like an illusion, but these small fruits are like an inverted strawberry and was recently bought back from extinction from a hybrid created from a cross between two North and South American varieties. The fruit flesh can range from soft white to orange and is very fragrant with a slight pineapple flavour.

French Sandy Carrots

French Sandy Carrots

French sandy carrots also known as ‘Carotte de Sables’ are the very special vegetable found growing all along the beautiful coast of La Manche in a tiny coastal area in Normandy. Here, where Sand isn’t just for sandcastles, they use this favourite seaside town to grow a very special carrot.

Carotte de Sables

Known in France as ‘carotte de sables’ or ‘sand carrots’, they are sweet, crunchy and slightly tender and grown using seaweed as their primary fertilizer. The sandy soil gives the carrots perfect drainage, they have little or no core and this results in excellent flavour. They are appreciated by the French as well as us as the very best variety of carrot and are sold with their light sand coating as proof of origin. They are more expensive than regular carrots, but that is expected once you have tasted them.

 

Focus On… Italian Monks Beard

Italian Monks Beard

Monk’s beard, a seasonal favourite with chefs. This grass-like green vegetable originated from Tuscany. It is similar to samphire in appearance and taste but without the overwhelming saltiness that makes samphire such an acquired taste. Monk’s beard gets its name from the Cappuccino monks who were well known for growing the vegetable.
Monk’s beard has a very short season of approximately five weeks in the spring and while it is predominately grown in Tuscany it is also increasingly being grown in other parts of Italy and by specialist salad and vegetable growers in the United Kingdom and United States.
Monk’s beard is known as Barbe dei Frati in Italy and is also called goat’s beard in the United Kingdom.
When it is very young it is suitable to use in salads but it is perhaps best when lightly steamed and dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper (and sea salt to taste) to produce a delicate side platter.

Focus On… Seville Oranges

Seville Oranges

If your a chef that likes to make the most of seasonal food, now’s the time to make the most of the bitter tasting orange from the southern Spanish province of Seville. This prized knobbly looking fruit makes more than just top class Marmalade. Peeled strips of the aromatic zest can be dried in a cool oven and used to flavour stews, stir-fries or chutneys. The tart juice can replace lemons or lime juice in marinades and sauces. Even the pips can be put to use by putting them in muslin and adding it to jellies or jams for extra Pectin. This Citrus tree has other uses around the world too, the rootstock can be used to grow the sweeter varieties of orange, the fruit and leaves can be made into a lather and used in soap and the Cubans use the wood to make baseball bats. All that aside, I just think it makes a really good quality marmalade.

Custard Apples

Custard Apples

‘Custard Apple’ aka ‘Cherimoya fruit’ which visually isn’t exactly captivating, it’s more like something out of The Flintstones rather than an exquisite fruit. But don’t let its pre-historic appearance put you off. Slice open a Cherimoya and you will discover an awesome fruit, ivory, toffee custard-like flesh, which some say has a mango type fragrance. A ripe cherimoya, like a ripe avocado, should yield to gentle pressure and will usually have brown blemishes on the skin when ripe. Once ripe, cherimoyas can be refrigerated for 1-2 days, but they will lose their flavour if kept longer. They are best eaten as soon as they reach full ripeness, their flavour is most intense when eaten at room temperature or just slightly chilled. Custard Apples are full of vitamin C anti-oxidants, which helps to combat many diseases and also enhances the immune system. Custard apple is abundant with potassium, magnesium and contains vitamin A, calcium, copper, fibre and phosphorous. It has high calorific value, able to provide sustained energy and delicious in nature.
CUSTARD APPLES ARE AVAILABLE NOW

Winter Squashes

Winter Squashes are now making an appearance with their tougher skin and somewhat lower water content than their summer counterparts can keep for months.
Far from coming to any harm, as the colours mute with the passing weeks they will become sweeter and more intensely flavoured.
There are scores of varieties and albeit a little earlier this year due to the good weather they are about to be in abundance. Here is a brief description of a few that are available now.
Kabocha is popular for its strong yet sweet flavour and moist, fluffy texture, which is like chestnuts.
Spaghetti Squash when raw has solid flesh and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.
Harlequin Squash has the classic acorn shape, with tough skin with yellow, green and white splodges, with dark green furrows running up it. Many buy it because of it’s look, inside, it has firm, dense orange flesh, with a very sweet good flavour.
Blue Ballet is the smaller version of Blue Hubbard and has blue-grey fruits which have flavoursome, bright orange, soft, fibre-less flesh weighing up to around 2.5kg each.
These squash are well suited to storage.

Wild Rowanberries

If you’re into your Foraging, Rowanberries (aka Mountain Ash) are now ready to pick. The stunning red berries are packed with vitamin A and C. They make fabulous jellies to serve with the upcoming game season, roast lamb or venison. They are best picked as late as possible but before the blackbirds and thrushes get to them. Commonly found in rural hedgerows and footpaths. They are easily spotted in the autumn with their plentiful clumps of red berries. The fruit is sour rather than sweet and has a unique flavour, making it a useful ingredient for far more preserves than just the popular Rowanberry Jelly.
The only use for consuming wild Rowanberries in their fresh raw state comes from Roger Phillips in his book ‘Wild Food’ in which he suggests squeezing the juice out of the berries to use in gin in place of angostura bitters!

Unfortunately we don’t sell these at the moment.

Disclaimer: Never eat anything from the wild without first consulting an expert! Please forage responsibly. Educate yourself, and have fun.

English Discovery Apples

English Discovery Apples are best known because it is one of the earliest apples to crop in the UK. Cropping time is usually mid to late August and lasts for about a month into September.
Discovery Apples are hard and crisp with lots of juice and has an acidic come sweet flavour which appeals to most people.
The skin colour is mainly red with a green/yellow background and the flesh is a pale yellow.
They are at their best when eaten fresh from the tree as Discovery Apples cannot be stored and ideally should be eaten within a week, as after that the eating quality deteriorates quickly. They should always be stored in a fridge until eaten and not left in a fruit bowl.
One of it’s bonuses is that they are great for making apple juice and cider and enthusiasts can start early in the season. Order yours now while their at their best.

The origin of the English Discovery Apple is believed to be a cross between Worcester Pearmain & Beauty of Bath. It was created by a grower called Mr Drummer around 1949 in Langham, Essex. It was renamed Discovery in 1962. By 1980 Discovery had become the main early English variety.

 

Discovery TREE