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March 2013 – Fruit and Vegetables Market Report

Just as the weather was beginning to warm up, along comes a late cold snap to send us back to our hats coats and gloves. Unfortunately a winter wardrobe is not available for those poor plants that have just started to poke their heads above ground. Lets hope its just a blip.
By the time you are reading this though the first of the English asparagus from the wye valley should be coming through. The French crop has already started. For the first time ever though English white asparagus will be making an appearance. Can’t wait!  Not only that but we are expecting the same growers to start sending forced rhubarb thus extending the season.
Wild garlic has started and should carry through till the end of May. Nettles have arrived with a sting and we are also expecting the first crop of Jersey Royal Mids and Ware shortly. Expect the prices to start high and drop as the season progresses.
Egyptian wet garlic has arrived on the market and by wet we mean fresh and not ‘uncool’. Monks beard (barba di frate), fennelbaby artichokes and kohlrabi from Italy, fresh peasflat beans and broad beans from Morocco are the best choice vegetables at the moment. The same cannot be said for the purple sprouting broccoli which has had a torrid time this winter. Please avoid.  Black Cabbage (cavalo nero) and january king cabbage are now finished, hispe cabbage though is a great alternative.
The bad weather in Spain has caused the price of aubergines and peppers to rise, expect it to stay like this for a while.
On the fruit side of things raspberries and strawberries are all good value, melons both orange and yellow flesh provide the best value. Plums both yellow and red are also tasting great. Comice pears are now finished. If you are looking for something ripe then conference are the best choice. Grapes both black and white are better value now, but the real treat this month are some wonderful black figs from South Africa.
Lemons and limes are reasonably priced as are all types of oranges. Now is the time to tuck into our fantastic Sicilian blood oranges both colour and price are just right!
 As always a reminder that Mothers day is the 10th of March, and don’t be a fool at the end of the month, clocks go forward an hour on the 31st of March.

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