Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 13th October 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 13th October 2017

Pumkins & Squashes Galore…….. There is a great selection of Pumpkins & Squashes: Onion, Turban, Iron Bark, Kabocha, Acorn, to name but a few that are around right now and are a must for your menu. English Cauliflowers, Broccoli & Leeks are all reasonable this week. Brussels, Brussel Tops and Brussels on the stalk are all selling well. English Purple Sprouting Broccoli is good quality although although more expensive than regular Broccoli. Green Courgettes are still a little pricey but Yellow Courgettes are twice the price. There seems to be plenty of Asparagus about but prices don’t reflect this? Mange-Toute & Sugar Snaps in in short supply so they’re up in price this week. The washed Cornish Mid Potatoes are very good at the moment and we’ll stick with them for now.

Tomatoes in general are quite expensive at the moment but Cherry, Chery Vine & Plum Tomatoes are really short and prices are quite high. We’re expecting the English Cos & Iceberg Lettuce to end soon and Lollo & Oakleaf soon afterwards. Fennel & Orange Peppers have eased from the recent high prices.

We’re buying ‘Okitsu’ Satsumas at present for our easy peeler, its not ideal as they are a little tart but the few other varieties available all seem to have waste in them. Italian William Pears are still about the best pear around until we can get a consistent English one. Only Dutch Indoor Rhubarb is available and it is a bit pricey. There are some Chilean Cherries around but they’re not good enough. Apricots are not available either. All the Soft Berries are a little on the dear side and Strawberries are up and down on a daily basis. Kiwi prices still hasn’t eased as we’d have hoped? Turkish Figs are still good, but coming to an end.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 29th September 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 29th September 2017

Brussels Sprouts are not just for Christmas as they can be shredded and used raw as this way you benefit from the high levels of vitamin C and vitamin K. Brussels sprouts, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical under basic research for its potential anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of sulforaphane, steaming and stir frying do not result in significant loss. There is a great selection of Pumpkins & Squashes available and as usual this year we have Toffee Apples & Chocolate Apples available. Fresh Cranberries have now started. Aubergines are becoming more plentiful so we expect prices to ease next week.  Green Courgettes remain expensive and Yellow Courgettes are extortionate. Tomatoes on the Vine are still short so no easing on the price there. Sugar Snaps & Mange-Toute have had a little hike in prices this week so too has Cauliflower & Broccoli. Still plenty of good value English Corn-on-Cob available and Parsnips are very reasonable too.

Turkish Figs are over their annual glut and prices are creeping up each week. Good Black & White Grapes are hard to find and anything good is at a steep premium. Nectarines & Peaches are but finished, so too are Apricots. The Satsumas we tried were a bit too early and quite ‘tart’ so we’re back on the Nardicots and they’re not bad at the moment, we’ll come back to the Satsumas a little later. The English Royal Gala Apples are great at the moment, soon we’ll have English Spartan & Braeburn Apples too. English Comice are nice but were a bit on the large size so we’ve asked for smaller ones next week, English Conference Pears will be more plentiful next week too. Strawberries have started to ease in price now.

Dairy costs have continued to rise during 2017; cream in particular has risen sharply over recent months leaving the dairy market extremely volatile. Low availability of supply and high demands for fats has resulted in further price increases to dairy related products. Price increases are never welcomed and we have worked hard throughout our business to ensure we keep them to a minimum.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 22nd September 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 22nd September 2017

Today is the Autumn Equinox, otherwise known as the first day of autumn in the earth’s northern hemisphere. The transition marks the time when the sun will be shining directly on the Earth’s equator, bringing equal amounts of daylight and darkness. There’s not many things more autumnal than Chestnuts and there are some lovely french ones available but they’re not very cheap. Unfortunately the UK doesn’t really grow Chestnuts commercially and its not until we receive the Chestnuts from China that the prices become reasonable. If you have a good budget then Autumn Black Truffles are available. Peruvian Asparagus continues to be dear, so too are Aubergines. Courgettes have risen this week as supplies ease up and quality is not as good. Italian Fennel is another short product and that is pricier too. English Cauliflower, Corn-on-Cob, Carrots & Parsnips are all good value this week but Broccoli will be dearer come next week. Large Dutch Celeriac is a better price than the French so we’ve moved over to them. Tomatoes are another dearer item and Plum Tomatoes-on-the-Vine are ridiculously expensive. Trompette Wild Mushrooms have been the only problem sourcing this week, otherwise there’s a good selection available.

Turkish Figs are very reasonable now but probably only for another week. Strawberries are almost non existent and very expensive at the moment, English Blueberries are still reasonable but the rest of the berries are on the dear side. USA Washington Cherries are available but as their flown in, they are expensive. English Conference Pears are still only trickling onto the market so the Italian Williams is the favoured choice at present. We are moving onto English Spartan Apples next week to replace the Royal Gala, apples in general continue to be quite tight at the moment. There are some Spanish Satsumas available and we’re going to give them a try next week as opposed to the Nardicotts. Italian Kiwi is still only arriving in low volumes hence the price hasn’t fallen back to normal yet.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 15th September 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 15th September 2017

There’s a definite Autumnal feeling now that the weather is cooler and the days are getting shorter. So now is the time for more comforting food so Pumpkins & Squashes are a great start. There are are so many to choose from now such as little Munchkin Pumpkins, Acorn Squash. Onion Squash, Turban Squash & Iron Bark Pumpkins to name but a few. Celeriac is great eaten raw but now is the time to eat it cooked. Turnips have grown in popularity and varieties such as Bunched Tokyo Turnips are tender, slightly spicy and taste like a cross between a radish and a turnip. English Variegated Kale continues to be very popular, green & purple are plentiful too. As reported before Mixed colour Chantenay Carrots and Baby Piccolo Parsnips are very good. Aubergines continue to be very expensive so too are Courgettes, so Marrows are still reasonable and worth considering. Asparagus is another product in short supply so it too remains expensive. Now that English Tenderstem Broccoli has come to an end the prices have jumped up, but English Broccoli & Cauliflowers are very reasonable, in fact the cauli’s we have at the moment from C.J.Bean & Son in Kent are massive! We’re on English Red Onions and they’re great quality. The Mix Wild Mushroom selection is still very good but Morels have been a problem. On the salad front all Tomatoes have jumped up in price, Peppers remain the same and it looks like English Lettuces are still going strong.

As we switch from European to South American Melons then prices get dearer and availability becomes more of an issue, Spanish Water Melons are still OK though, for this week anyway. Turkish Figs are in abundance so prices have come down. Italian William Pears are now available so we’ve switched to them and Red Forelle Pears are available too. The European Apple Season is under way but as there was a problem with the crop this year due to late frosts, they are 20% down in volume so prices will be dearer than previous years. English Blueberries & Raspberries are still lovely but Strawberries & Blackberries have become short and prices have taken a hike. Kiwi has eased in price now that Italian fruit is available. Oranges & Lemons remain on the pricey side and they are saying  Mexican Limes are expected to go up soon due to the earthquake in Mexico. English Cobnuts are all but finished now.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 8th September 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 8th September 2017

Asparagus & Aubergines are both in short supply and therefore quite expensive at the moment. Jerusalem Artichokes are a bit on the small side and prices remain dear. Brussels Sprouts are beginning their annual return and is a stark reminder that Christmas is not that far away! English Cauliflower, Broccoli & Leeks are all reasonable. Purple, Green & Variegated Curly Kale looks good and vibrant. Baby ‘Piccolo’ Parsnips are back so too are are the mixed Baby Heritage Chantenay Carrots. The Wild Mushroom selection is very good and the Cèpes looked exceptional. The Savoy Cabbage from ‘Wards Farm’ is a good size with good dark green colouring.

The season for European Peaches & Nectarines is at an end now, whilst they still look good, the flesh is quite ‘pappy’ and they will only get worse, we may take them off sale altogether soon. Cherries are available but as their now airfreight Canadian, they are very expensive. Apricots are still OK for the time being and the Portuguese ‘Laetitia’ Red Plums are good too. Turkish Black Figs are a good size and have a very good sugar content so they are delicious. Spanish Pomegranates are very good and reasonably priced, they are very popular at the moment and since they’ve been growing them since the 18th Century, they ought to be good! Now that the English Blackberry season is over the price of Dutch Blackberries has rocketed, so best avoided. Raspberries & Blueberries however are still reasonable. Easy Peelers are a problem in both quality and price, we’re buying Nardicotts ate the moment as the Mineolas are not the easiest to peel. Pineapples are more plentiful and prices have eased. All the Melons are creeping up in price now as the European season comes to an end.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 25th August 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  25th August 2017

Firstly a quick reminder that we are closed on Bank Holiday Monday 28th August.

There are some lovely English Apples called ‘Scrumptious’ available for a short period. It is not a new apple as it created in the 1980s by an English apple enthusiast called Hugh Ermen who also raised several other popular modern apple tree varieties such as Red Devil and Hertfordshire Russet. The medium-sized apples are a very appealing shade of red which is over most of the surface of the apple. The sunnier the position the redder the apples turn. The skin is thinner than average making eating them easy for all ages and has more depth of flavour than other early varieties. They will store for a relatively short time when picked, one or two weeks at most. English Conference Pears are also appearing on the market now and are still relatively firm to eat. If your looking for something different then there is a fruit  called a ‘Pluot’ or ‘Plumcot’, as the name suggests they are a Hybrid cross of Plums and Apricots has a relatively short window of availability, about three weeks on average, and each variety has its own unique appearance and flavor attributes. English Cherries are now finished and we’ve moved onto USA fruit, Apricots too are coming to an end. English Cob-Nuts are available and tend to improve the more they mature. Melons are starting to creep up in price particularly Canteloups & Galia. South African Packham Pears are coming to an end too.

There is some lovely produce arriving from Italy, Yellow Beans, White Flat Beans and Round Aubergines are just a few to mention. Water Melon Radish is available and are a good size. English Cauliflower & Broccoli are very reasonably priced, English Corn-on-Cob are too. Yellow Courgettes are still at least twice the price of its Green cousins so should be avoided. English Red Onions are coming much better now. Many varieties of Pumpkins and Squashes are now available and will be for some time so you can adjust your Autumnal Menus accordingly. The cooler weather has made the selection of Wild Mushrooms much better but not particularly cheaper!

 

 

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 11th August 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  11th August 2017

Discovery Apples are still our recommended apple of the week and we’re expecting the Early Windsors & Worcesters to start shortly.

But we do have Bramley Apples started and these are the king of all cooking apples. In fact ALL Bramley Apples to this day originate from the pips that Mary Ann Brailsford planted as a young girl in 1809 at her Nottinghamshire home. In 1846 Matthew Bramley bought the home and in 1856 and a local Nurseryman named Henry Merryweather asked to take cuttings from the tree and named them ‘Bramley seedlings’. This is because a true fruit can only be taken from a parent tree and not from the seeds as when pollinated the seeds can be a cross from another variety. The first recorded sale of the variety is in Henry Merryweather’s book of accounts on 31 October 1862. He sold “three Bramley apples for 2/- to Mr Geo Cooper of Upton Hall”. The original Bramley Apple tree continues to bear fruit to this day. Those few pips planted 200 years ago are responsible for what is today a £37 million industry, with commercial growers across Kent, East Anglia and the West Midlands.

Next week will probably be the last of the English Cherries. There are English Greengages, Victoria Plums and we expect Marjorie Seedling Plums to start soon. English Strawberries are a little scruffy, probably due to the weather so we’re moving onto Belgium for now. Spanish Water Melons are still good value and French Charentais  Melons are our preferred choice of orange flesh at present.

French Globe Artichokes have eased this week but the Jerusalem Artichokes are still very dear. Yellow Courgettes have jumped in price this week but Green Courgettes remain the same. There’s some lovely English Rainbow Chard from Kent and a selection of Baby Veg from Colchester on the market.  Tender Stem Brocccoli from Worcester is very good at the moment and reasonably priced. Cauliflowers are very dear and its due to late planting earlier in the year due to weather but should be OK within two weeks. Peruvian Asparagus is finally easing in price and we expect this trend to follow next week too. English Peas & Broad Beans have been in short supply as they will be coming to an end soon, Runner Beans are still plentiful though. Corn-on-Cob is at its best now and is very good value.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 4th August 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  4th August 2017

The English Apple Season has kicked off and as usual ‘Discovery‘ is the first of the earlies. This is a lovely crisp apple but only if eaten fresh, this apple does not keep very well once picked and left out. So for the next few weeks we recommend this apple. Damsons have also started, they are a plum like small fruit with vibrant dark blue skin and a strong, sour flavour, although similar to plums they are actually a member of the rose family.  Damsons are more suitable for cooking than eating raw and are especially good for jams and jellies. For anyone that likes foraging then Elderberries are now available. If you didn’t rob your favourite Elder Tree of all its flowers earlier in the season to make your cordial then there will be some lovely berries available now, alternatively you can purchase them from us. Other English fruits available are lovely large Black Cherries, Victoria Plums, Blackberries, Raspberries, Currants (all colours) & Strawberries. English Rhubarb has now finished though. Turkish Black Figs are becoming plentiful and prices are very reasonable but I’d expect the price to drop even further soon. Lemons & Limes are easing but Oranges are still a problem on both quality & price. French Charentais Melons are wonderful and are our choice of orange flesh melon this week. Lychees are now available.

All English Potatoes are new season now and very good, from Maris Peer New Potatoes, Agria for Chips and Roasting and various varieties for Jackets Potatoes. There is some limited availability knockout English Aubergines (Purple & Striped) from a farm not too far away in Ripley, Surrey. Also some beauteous English Round & Yellow Courgettes from Maldon in Essex. English Green Courgettes in general are not being graded that well at the moment are either too big or too small so we’re buying from European growers. Globe Artichokes are expensive at the moment and Sugar Snaps are up in price too. The rain has affected the quality of English Lettuces and we having to be selective as to which grower we buy from at the moment. We’re getting some stunning Tender Stem Broccoli & Corn on the Cob from Barfoots Farm in West Sussex and prices are reasonable too.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 28th July 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  28th July 2017

You know when you go to the cafe and your Bacon Sandwich or your full English Breakfast arrives and you go for the Tomato ketchup and its in a plastic bottle, you just know its not going to be Heinz Tomato Ketchup, its going to be some cheap alternative? And you ask yourself, why don’t they just pay a little more and and get the good stuff? Well, the same can be said for Fruit & Vegetables and at County Supplies we know it makes sense. So for example we would rather buy Cauliflowers that are a good size from a grower like P Bones & Sons rather than smaller ones from whoever as pound for pound its better value, not everything can be read on a price list.

The market is quiet as expected but were pleased to see the arrival of English Corn-on-Cob, the first arrivals from Essex are very plump and recommended. English Broccoli, Cauliflower & Leeks are all reasonable. Don’t forget English Runner Beans, Broad Beans & Peas are readily available. There is a bigger selection of Continental Squashes becoming available. Avocado’s remain dear both Feurte & Hass. The English Lettuces are still good value and Quality. Dutch Aubergines are in short supply and prices have jumped steeply over the last week and the price of Peppers seems to be all over the place from one day to another. The Asparagus price is easing but is still relatively dear.

Apples, in particular Granny Smiths are in very short supply as usual for this time of year and the price will be high for a little while. The South African Packham Pears are coming in much better now and you won’t break any teeth on them now! Melons are more plentiful and prices continue to drop. The English rainy weather is affecting the picking of Strawberries and some days there is very limited supply. Not much change in the Citrus price so across the board, prices remain dear still. English Victoria Plums are very good and Greengages are available too. English Cherries on the whole have been very good, in fact the dark cherries we had earlier in the week were the best, the biggest and the tastiest I’ve had for a long time. Spanish Peaches & Nectarines are still eating very well, so too are the Apricots.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 21st July 2017

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report –  21st July 2017

Things are beginning to quieten down now as the holiday season approaches and there should be a few bargains to be had over the coming weeks. This week Mid Potatoes are still a good buy, English Leeks, Carrots, Cauliflower & New Season Carrots are all very reasonable. English Purple Sprouting Broccoli is in full swing and very good. There is also some English Romanesco, medium sized Petit Pan & Rainbow Chard if you want something a little different. Also different are the French Yellow & Purple Cauliflowers but they are pricey and some Purple Beans are available too. Asparagus is still very expensive as mentioned last week as there is limited supplies coming through at present. French Cob-Nuts have started and I imagine the English will only be a couple of weeks away. Avocado’s are dear at the moment and the Green Fuerte type are as expensive as the Hass at the moment. We’re now onto the New Crop Agria Potatoes that are a relief to many as its good to get a good chipping potato again. All the English Lettuces continue to be good value and excellent quality.

Strawberries are still commanding a decent price and prices haven’t eased as much as expected. The South African Clementines that arrived are very juicy so too are the Italian Apricots. If your looking for an orange flesh melon then the Italian Cantaline Melon is very good and Water Melons remain plentiful are so are still reasonable at the moment so too are Pineapples. The English Cherries continue to eat very well but won’t be around for much longer. English Victoria Plums have just started and will be around for a couple of weeks, they eat very well but don’t don’t keep. French Greengages are now available, the English will be available soon. There’s still plenty of Peaches & Nectarines around but the cheaper ones are looking a bit scruffy & bruised. Fresh French Green Almonds (see picture) are available and although you can eat the outer green flesh it is a bit bitter. The young Almond inside however has a more delicate taste and a bit gelatinous, they are after all – unripe Almonds that if left on the tree will turn brown and have an inedible hard shell protecting the Almond inside.