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Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 6th July 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 6th July 2018

We may be loving this hot weather but farmers are not, the prolonged dry spell is now starting to affect not only cereal crops but salad crops too. Mainstream lines like Celery, Iceberg & Cos Lettuce are in great demand but lack of water is affecting growth. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Savoy Cabbages are getting very tight too. We’re having to import Tenderstem Broccoli from Kenya as its almost non existent. English Loose Corn-on-Cob is great value, far cheaper than the pre-packed. Avocado’s are getting cheaper as there seems to be plenty around. English Jerusalem Artichokes are finished so we’re onto the French, also Globe Artichokes are quite expensive at the moment. Now that the English Asparagus has finished, its now arriving from Peru and its quite pricey at the moment.  English Runner Beans from Worcestershire have started and are very good, along with Fresh Peas in Pod & Broad Beans. English New Season Carrots are still a bit small so we’re buying French for now. English ‘Cheltenham’ Beetroot which is the elongated variety is now available, but the Golden Beetroot has jumped in price.

English Cherries, especially the ones from J. G. Piper in Kent are AMAZING! I haven’t tasted a better cherry in a long time and totally recommend them. All the Berries are in full swing, albeit that some are expensive at the moment. The English Red & Green Gooseberries from Herefordshire are very good so too are the English Blueberries. Spanish Peaches & Nectarines are eating really well and very juicy, the flat varieties are also available. Pineapples seem plentiful so we expect prices too ease. The same for Melons, the Water Melons have already come down and the rest should follow, the Italian Cantaloupe Melon is very good and highly recommended. Plums are very tight and prices are high. The ongoing shortage of Apples is a big problem, we’re using Pink Lady Apples as the our Red Apple as unusually they’re the best value but are slightly smaller. Apricots & Satsumas are eating very well.

Finally…..Come on England we’re rooting for you!

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 15th June 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 15th June 2018

All good things come to an end and English Asparagus is no different. Although it started later it is still finishing around the same time as per usual. Only smaller quantities are coming through now and there will be a cut off point in about a week because the farmer has to let the spears mature so as to feed the plants roots for next year. But there is other great English produce to compensate for example, English Broad Beans & English Peas in Pod. New Season English Carrots are available but they’re still on the small side. Jersey Royal Potatoes are much more affordable now and very good quality, so too are Cornish New Crop Potatoes. English Broccoli has started but volumes are low so we’re still having to top up with Spanish for a couple of days. French Leeks are expensive as they’re the only ones worth buying, the others are woody. Parsnips are dearer as we’ve moved over to Spanish for a couple of months. Cauliflowers have rocketed in price as the winter crop came to an abrupt end and Summer Cauliflower is a little late, they also come up smaller. Baby Bunch Artichokes are dear at the moment. Tomatoes are reasonable and all the English Lettuces are excellent. Tenderstem Broccoli & Fine Beans are both expensive at the moment.

English Strawberries both taste and look excellent at the moment, English Raspberries & Gooseberries are good too. Cherries are a bit of a problem, there is plenty around but the quality is poor. We’re now on South African Forelle Pears as they’re only slightly less hard than the Packhams! Nectarines & Peaches are very good and all are eating well especially the Flat Varieties. Elder Flower has all but come to an end now. Italian Canteloupe Melons have arrived and they eat much better than their South American cousins and are better priced. Water Melons are starting to become more plentiful so hopefully prices will start to ease. Needless to say Apples remain dear until we get the new crop starting.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 18th May 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 18th May 2018

Well if its good enough for the Royal Wedding them its good enough for your customers, Our Norfolk English Asparagus grower ‘Portwood Farm’ is supplying the Asparagus for the big day so nothing more needs to be said about his quality. The price now is more or less the price for the next few weeks so make sure you make the most of it on your menu. The Jersey Royal Potatoes harvest is now in full swing and we should see a significant drop in prices next week. The English Salad leaf crops are well under way now so Iceberg, Little Gem, Pousse, Rocket, Cos are great right now. They have started to cut the Lollo Rosso and Oakleaf but not not in great volumes for another week. Spanish Broccoli, Aubergines & Courgettes are reasonable. The English Cauliflower are good value as their so large they can only fit ten to a box and English Leeks are very reasonable too. Quality Potatoes such as Jacket Potatoes are on the increase so too are Agria Potatoes. Young Nettles are still available but Wild Garlic is coming to an end, still on foraged products, Elderberry Flowers have just started in limited quantities. Cucumbers are still relatively expensive so too are all the Dutch Peppers. English Baby vegetables have started and the quality is excellent.

 

The supply of English Strawberries arriving is improving so as soon as they become more affordable we can switch over to them, hopefully within a week or so. Redcurrants are extortionate at present so best avoided, Blueberries are getting more reasonable now too. Spanish Lemons & Mexican Limes are very expensive at the moment, Pineapples have also risen price this week. French Peaches & Nectarines have started but as its so early they don’t have the sugar content in them so I would hold off for now. Apricots are available and are quite tasty. Melons continue to be very expensive across the board. Plums & Apples remain expensive too.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 27th April 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 27th April 2018

English Asparagus is now in full swing and our Norfolk grower ‘Portwood Farm’ has said the quality is excellent. English Asparagus on has a short season so make sure there’s room on your menu for some. Somewhat more expensive and harder to source is Wild Asparagus, it’s barley type look is quite different and it’s just come into season and sporadic supplies are coming through. Another great UK grower is Nutbourne Nursery, their Heirloom Tomatoes are second to none! They are more expensive than most other English growers but their flavour and quality is well worth it, they’re now packing in loose 3kg boxes (Please request NUTBOURNE when ordering). Jersey Royal Potatoes are expected to go down sometime next week as they move  over to the main outdoor crop.  English Cauliflowers, Spanish Courgettes & Belgium Leeks remain reasonable but Broccoli has jumped in price and is expected to get much dearer in the next couple of weeks as supplies tighten.

Portuguese Savoy Cabbage is in short supply and up in price. Mange-toute & Sugar Snaps look to go up in price as rain is affecting the crop. English Onions are still dear and has quality issues. Spanish & Chilean Onions are available but nearly double the price. Tomatoes are much the same with the exception of Beef Tomatoes that are dearer this week.  Much later than usual but we should be starting on some English Lettuces next week, first will be the Little Gem & Pousse Baby spinach with the other lettuces coming soon after. The lateness of the English crop has had an impact on the price of Iceberg Lettuce and due to short supply issues, it is much more expensive at present.

English Outdoor Rhubarb is much better now and great value for money. Dutch Strawberries have eased after the spike in prices last week. Apples remain expensive and continue to go up in price. All Melons are dear but Water MelonsCantaloupe especially so.  Nardicotts are coming to an end and have quality issues too so we should be moving to Ortaniques next week, only problem is that they can be more of a hard Peeler as opposed to an easy peeler! We’re still stuck with just Conference Pears as the main stream pear of choice, hopefully some Comice will arrive soon. Lemons are creeping up in price and Limes are dearer as we switch from Brazil to Mexican. No Cherries or Apricots available at present.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 17th April 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 17th April 2018

There is some fine English produce starting to trickle through to us now as the weather warms up. The English Asparagus in Green & Purple is lovely but still fetching high prices. English Cauliflowers are a good size now and much better value for money. Italian/Spanish Peas & Broad Beans are very good, as are the French Jerusalem Chokes. Belgium Leeks remain a good buy so too is the Spanish Broccoli. The taste of the Sicilian Cherry Tomatoes on Vine this week are fantastic, they are so sweet but remain firm, I just can’t stop eating them. Aubergines are creeping back up in price and English Carrots look likely to go the same way as we near the end of the crop. Good English Main Crop Potatoes like AGRIA are just going to go up in price week by week as we head towards the end of the crop. Good English Onions remain dear and it’s a challenge to find a good one. Padron Peppers are very reasonable this week.

We’re now on Dutch Strawberries and the quality is so much better and not a great deal more expensive neither. Indoor & Outdoor Rhubarb available, big difference in price and grading though. For some reason Paw Paws are expensive at the moment. Pineapples remain reasonable but Lemons & Limes are looking to go up in the next week or so. The South African Red Plums ‘Ruby Star’ eat very well and are very juicy. The choice of Pears is still very limited but we’re hoping for some Comice to start this week. Bananas have eased in price a little but they are still above the seasonal norm. Not much change in the price of Melons, Water Melons are still expensive. There are some Chilean Peaches & Nectarines available but we don’t recommend them at all.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 10th April 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 10th April 2018

Still a lack of English Produce coming through, it is reported that the ourdoor Jersey Royal Potato Crop is three weeks late this year due to the wet cold weather and all the salads are late already. Cucumbers are plentiful so prices are reasonable. Plum Tomatoes & Rocket are a little easier too. Avocado’s remain expensive but the Peppers look to ease in price.

Wye Valley White Sprouting Broccoli looks lovely and is very seasonal, Purple is available too. Cauliflowers are coming down this week and the size is getting bigger too. Broccoli & Leeks are also very reasonable this week. English Asparagus has started but prices are dear. Our preferred Grower, Portwood Farm believes prices will stay quite high until May as volumes are very low at present. YUKON Baby Leeks have been hard to get and they are very pale when we do get them, so best avoided. Most Wild Mushrooms are available but some are poorer quality especially the Girolles. Wild Garlic Leaf (Ransoms) is still available, but not in flower yet. The best Sweet Potatoes are from the USA at the moment but they are a little dearer.

We’ve moved over to Belgium/Dutch Strawberries as the quality/shelf life of the Spanish was very poor. Redcurrants remain expensive and the rest of the Berries are not particularly cheap. Still no Apricots but there are a few pockets of Cherries starting. Pineapples prices are fair and Bananas are slowly coming back down in price. Easy Peelers are very difficult as Nardicotts are still showing some waste and there is no better alternative.

 

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 27th March 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 27th March 2018

So British Summertime has started….really!

This time last year we were talking about English Asparagus, English Lettuces, English Heritage Tomatoes, no such luck this year yet. OK, there is a very small amount that has been picked just to be the first but commercially, no chance. But, what we do have is some lovely English Purple Sprouting Broccoli  from Wye Valley.  English Cauliflowers are getting bigger so we’ll switch back soon and the price should ease off then as well. If you buy any of the Coloured Cauliflower varieties like purple or Yellow then be prepared for the price as they’re very expensive. Broccoli is reasonable, so too are Peppers, Courgettes are less plentiful so there is a little price rise there. English Cucumbers should start next week (we started a lot sooner last year!), Onions have spiked up in price and the English Main crop Potatoes are on the increase as we see current levels of last years crop diminish, this will affect the price of premium varieties like Agria and Jacket Potatoes the most. Most Wild Mushrooms are available but quality is poor and they’re very wet. Spanish Globe Artichokes are a good size and reasonably priced against the French. There is very little if any Baby Ukon Rainbow Carrots, there are limited amount of French ones too. Wild Garlic Leaf & Young Nettles are available again.

All Apples are going to be a bug bear this Summer. Prices are really starting to increase dramatically due to such limited available produce this year. There is no really good Easy Peeler fruit around at the moment, even the best Nardicots are showing a little waste. Strawberries are dearer this week and we’ll switch over to the Dutch very shortly as the quality of the Spanish is diminishing. All Berries are dear this week and the Redcurrants are best avoided as they’re extortionate. No Peaches, Nectarines or Apricots at present. We keep being told the Bananas are going to ease soon but I think they will after Easter. The Air Freight Mangoes are streets ahead of the others, so despite the dearer prices, we believe they’re worth it.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 9th March 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 9th March 2018

I do love a Jersey Royal Potatoes and they’re available now. The earthiness and texture is just divine. Jersey Royals have been grown on Jersey for 140 years. Today there are approximately 20 island farmers who grow Jersey Royals. The Jersey soil is light and well drained and many farmers still use seaweed harvested from Jersey beaches as a natural fertilizer (it is known locally as Vraic). They’re not cheap, but I’m sure you can add them somewhere to a dish?

Cauliflowers remain expensive, but all the other Brassica’s are easing from the recent high prices due to the weather. Leeks continue to increase in price and we’ve seen a slight change upwards on the Onions too. If you’ve ordered any Baby Bunch Veg this week then it’s been changed to Yukon as the word ‘baby’ would be out of the question, more like ‘Micro’ as they have been picked far too early to meet demand. The Wild Mushroom selection is very poor and Girolles are almost non existent. Wild Garlic Leaf has been very hard to source this week, hopefully it will improve this week.

Water Melons remain expensive. We’re expecting the Banana price to start easing next week as more containers arrive. Pineapples are reasonable, so too are Spanish Strawberries and they’re not coming through as large as they was. Red Currants are ludicrously expensive, so best avoided. Plums are more plentiful, but this hasn’t impacted on the price yet and they’re still a bit pricey but they are good quality. Apples are quite expensive this year especially the Granny Smiths due to a much smaller European crop. Nardicotts are good but getting dearer.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 2nd March 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 2nd March 2018

Needless to say the weather is affecting almost everything. Even if the Farmer manages to pick the crop he may not be able to get the transport to him to collect it. A good example is Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, its grown in sheds inside and is not really affected by the weather but supplies have been very tight as they cannot get it collected during this snowy weather! As this is a European weather problem we cannot simply switch to mainland Europe to fill the gaps in our own shortages as their in the same boat and we rely heavily on Europe this time of year. Young Nettles & Wild Garlic are in short supply due to the weather.

So far Cauliflowers have been badly affected and are very expensive this week. All the English Cabbages are up in price and some have a quality issue too. Root crops, as in Carrots & Parsnips are currently coming from storage so are not directly impacted yet. There is big problems in Italy, so Continental Parsley, Fennel, Cavolo Nero and many other leafy crops are frozen in the ground. In the coming weeks we may see Potatoes start to creep up in price for the better ones, the larger crop last year has up until now keep prices lower than average.

Bananas remain expensive whilst supplies are tight. Spanish Strawberries are still reasonable and we’re expecting more Dutch fruit to arrive soon too. Good Apples of all sizes are proving very hard to source and will remain expensive for some time to come. English Braeburn have more or less finished but there are still some English Royal Gala Apples around. Water Melons are very expensive and we’ve switched over to some better larger Honeydew Melons that work out better value. There are a few Yellow Plums available.

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 23rd February 2018

Fruit & Vegetable Market Report – 23rd February 2018

Spring is only around the corner but you’d be excused from not believing this when you consider the cold weather now and over the next week. Needless to say we’ve already been told that as it affects Europe too there will be casualties. We’ve already been told that they expect Broccoli & Cauliflower to go up already as it was already getting tighter. Closer to home we have some good Cabbages that are good value and great quality, January King is getting a bit light on the ground, but Savoy, Primo & Spring Greens are plentiful. If your a fan then Brussels & Brussels Tops are still available. Leeks are another one on the way up but quality is good. Spanish Courgettes are having a few quality issues but by having Moroccan available, prices have managed to remain the same. Belgium Aubergines have started and hopefully this will keep the price stable.

Peppers are a little above the seasonal norm and Cucumbers are a bit pricey at the moment too. Tomatoes in general are reasonable but Yellow Cherry Tomatoes are a bit tight and this is reflected in their price. The varieties of Heirloom Tomatoes just goes on and on, this week we had some lovely Blue Beauty Beefsteak Tomatoes, they were a bit pricey but were a lovely colour and tasted marvellous. Monks Beard is available still and now there is Young Nettles & Wild Garlic Leaf from the Continent has just started so initial prices are dear to start with but will come down over the next few weeks.

Plums are quite expensive at the moment and there is some Yellow plums available too. Strawberries are easing in price, but the rest of the Berries are about the same as before. Redcurrants are not so extortionate now either. Water Melons as stated before remain very expensive. English Forced Rhubarb still available and English Cox’s Apples are still popular. No Apricots available. Conference Pears are the Pear of choice at the moment as the Packhams/Williams are still rock solid, there is some Red Forelle Pears starting to arrive so we’re be looking at them too.