Happy New Year to everybody and let’s hope for some better weather than we had in December.
The snow and freezing conditions we had last month really made it a difficult end to the year for fresh produce with local farmers unable to dig out crops, hauliers unable to deliver and planes unable to land. Consequently, prices went up as supply became tight.
The thawing of the snow in January means prices have generally eased. Root vegetables are the best value local produce at this time of year. Carrots, turnips, swede and parsnips (which actually improve in flavour after a frost) are all good bets. Maincrop potatoes seem to be getting smaller in size. If you require a larger potato for chipping we would recommend the Lovers brand which is slightly more expensive. Beetroot, celeriac, salsify and jerusalemartichokes are also great buys at present.
The stars of the month though are kale and black cabbage. They are both packed with vitamins and iron and should definitely be on your menus this month. Sprout tops and turnip tops (cime di rapa) are still available and let’s not forget that the brussel sprout is not only for Christmas. Broccoli and cauliflowers have come down from their pre-Christmas price high but quality is patchy. One to avoid this month is fennel, they are getting very small in size and expensive. Mushrooms are always a good winter idea with the portobello and chestnut representing a particularly pleasant variety.
Bad weather abroad has led to a sharp increase in the price of all salads, especially iceberg, cos and roquette. As an alternative why not try our bags of ready washed mixed salads, which are fixed in price for the whole year.
Micro cresses and micro herbs seem to be very popular with chefs at the moment and a full list of all the varieties we sell can be seen on this attachment.
The first of the forced rhubarb from the Rhubarb Triangle (picked by candlelight no less) has arrived early this year and is certainly one of the prettiest sights on the market.
Fruit wise we still have plentiful English braeburn and coxapples along with comice and conference pears. Satsumas and leafy clems are still tasty and sweet and the blood orange season is now in full swing with three varieties to choose from. All berries have come down in price with blueberries and strawberries representing the best value.
Apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries are all available from further afield but Italian plums will be finishing shortly. Also for all you marmalade lovers, Seville oranges are available but please be quick as the season is very short!
A date to note this month is the 10 January. Plough Monday – the first Monday after twelfth night – traditionally marks the beginning of the new agricultural year.