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January 2012 – Market Report

halved blood orange an top of blood oranges

Happy New Year everybody. Let’s hope it’s a fruit-ful one and that the gloomy doomsday predictions that the end of the world is nigh are just slightly over-exaggerated. I for one am predicting that the Mayans have got it wrong.
January is upon us and those poor parsnips that love the frost must be wondering what’s going on. The mild weather does have its plus points with unexpected delights like the English raspberries we received last week and the wonderful purple sprouting broccoli that just keeps getting better.
The first of the forced rhubarb from the legendary Rhubarb Triangle (an area in west Yorkshire where spades and trowels mysteriously go missing at this time of year) has arrived. It’s wonderfully pink and soft and much preferable to the greenish red outdoor variety. An absolute must!
Blood oranges are also in abundance now. The first to appear is the Tarocco variety. Grown on the slopes of mount Etna, this is not a full blood orange but makes a wonderful eating orange and contains the most vitamin C of any orange in the world. The much bloodier Moro and Sanguinello will soon follow.
Talking of oranges, but something altogether more bitter, it’s time to get out those kilner jam jars because now is also marmalade time. The short-lived Seville orange season is now upon us so make sure you catch them while you can. Satsumasclementines and Sicilian leafy clems are looking great. Spanish lemons are good too but even more fragrant are the unwaxed lemons that come from Amalfi. 
Our most popular English cox and braeburn apples are still going strong as are the comice and concorde pearsBerry prices have fallen from the highs we saw in December with the Egyptians finally managing to get their strawberries out despite the troubles.
As always at this time of year, salad prices are on the up. Cosiceberg and little gem in particular. Not to worry though, as there are so many more interesting salads to choose from. Lollorossobiondooak leafgreen and red bataviafriseebull’s blood and red mustard to name a few. Not forgetting that winter is the best time for raddicchio and chicory. On the radicchio front we have chioggiatrevisotardivo and the beautiful castel franco. We also have whitered and baby chicory.
Tomatoes are predominately being sourced from Morocco and Spain and have been quite good so far, but by far the best flavoured tomatoes are arriving from Italy, with some fantastically coloured yellow and red cherry vineplum and baby plum (datterini).
Root vegetables are the best value local produce at this time of year. Parsnipspiccolo parsnipsswedescarrotsrainbow carrotsceleriacturnips, goldencandycheltenham and regular beetroot. The list goes on and on. Salsify and jerusalem artichokes are also musts.
On the brassica front, green and red kale along with black and savoy cabbage are all looking great. Cima di rapebrussel tops, both green and redswiss chard and kohlrabi are my personal favourites at the moment. Aubergines roundwhite and even stripy are a good change from the norm as are the long sweet peppers that are in stock now.
We have our usual mix of wild and exotic mushrooms, in particular. Why not give our king oyster mushrooms a try?
If your trying to extend the Christmas feeling don’t forget we still have vac-packed chestnutscranberriespomegranatesmedjool datesagen prunes and a variety of nuts to choose from.
A date to note this month is 9 January. Plough Monday – the first Monday after the twelfth night – traditionally marks the beginning of the New Year.

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