November is not my favourite month of the year when it comes to fruit and vegetables. The summer has long gone and the quality and quantity of local produce diminishes.
We still have a plentiful supply of English apples and the Russet is probably our best at present, the perfect apple to eat with cheese. We also have some wonderful Melinda apples from the Val di Non in Italy that proved such a success last year. If you have never had these before then you must, Huge and expensive but probably the best apple you can get in the world at present. There are also some pears from the same area but they can’t touch our own English comice that are ripe and ready to eat now.
European peaches and nectarines are now finished and they are now arriving from South Africa. They are good but expensive. Grape prices are also on the up. Turkish figs have now finished and have been replaced by the much more expensive and less tasty Brazilian ones. Satsumas and Clementines are the best bet at present, with our Sicilian leafy clems the sweetest options. Custard apples are plentiful and fresh cranberries are also in stock. A sure sign Christmas is not far away!
English raspberries will be ending shortly along with the Dutch strawberries that we have been selling. Spain will be the main exporter of these now.
The price of lemons has dropped significantly recently with the arrival of the Spanish and Turkish crop, but the shelf life of these early varieties is not too good so beware.
French globe artichokes are coming to the end of their season so prices are high and supply is short. Salads have also increased in price as they are now arriving from further afield. Italian roquette is cheap at the moment but that also reflects the poor quality of it as production moves from the north of Italy to the south. We will be keeping a close eye on it and changing to the Israeli rucola that is more robust if this continues.
Still great value are all our British root vegetables. As they come into contact with frost the flavour actually improves and they get sweeter. The brussels tops that we plugged last month proved a real winner and still represent excellent value for money. Joining them this month are our turnips tops, which are my favourite of all the greens. Nutritionally they are one of the best things to eat, packed with vitamins and iron. Absolutely wonderful!
Our Maris Piper chipping potatoes are at their best now but English mids are now finished and we have moved on to the French crop now. Crones have now dropped in price and make a great seasonal treat.
From Sicily we have some wonderful cherry vine and plum tomatoes, bursting with flavour. Round violet aubergines are also available and make a nice change from our usual ones. Soon to arrive are the sweet Sicilian juicing oranges that we had all winter last year.
Don’t forget November the 22nd is stir up Sunday, the traditional day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding whilst making a wish. Not forgetting that it is always stirred from east to west in honour of the three wise men.