Happy New Year everybody!
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 anyorange 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. Satsumas, clementines 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 pears. Berry 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. Cos, iceberg and little gem in particular. Not to worry though, as there are so many more interesting salads to choose from. Lollorosso, biondo, oak leaf, green and red batavia, frisee, bull’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 chioggia, treviso, tardivo and the beautiful castel franco. We also have white, red 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 vine, plum and baby plum (datterini).
Root vegetables are the best value local produce at this time of year. Parsnips, piccolo parsnips, swedes, carrots, rainbow carrots, celeriac, turnips, golden, candy, cheltenham 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 rape, brussel tops, both green and red, swiss chard and kohlrabi are my personal favourites at the moment. Aubergines round, white 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 chestnuts, cranberries, pomegranates, medjool dates, agen prunes and a variety of nuts to choose from.
January 2013 – Fruit and Vegetable Market Report
Happy New Year everybody!