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January 2017 – Fruit and Vegetables Market Report

halved blood orange an top of blood oranges

It hasn’t been the best of starts to 2017 in the fruit and veg world.
I’m sure your aware as it has been heavily reported on TV and in the newspapers, bad weather in Europe (Spain and Italy mainly) have caused shortages in many products that we get from there at this time of year. I have never known prices at the levels they are currently and unfortunately it looks set to continue for a while yet. It’s mainly affecting saladstomatoespeppersaubergines and yes COURGETTES.
While we are doing our best to search alternative areas for these products, it is proving difficult, and our main focus is keeping the quality high.
The best advice we can give at the moment is to plan your menus carefully. There is plenty of produce available out there that hasn’t been affected so much.Cauliflowerscabbages (January King is great), leekskalebeansswiss chardmange tout and sugar snaps remain well priced. Kalettes are becoming ever more popular. For those who don’t know they are a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts and do not need any prep! Root vegetables too are unaffected, and butternut squash and Jerusalem artichokes are beautiful at the moment. There is a wide range of mushroom available, like flatportobellochestnut and mixed cultivatedFennelchicory and radicchio are ideal for salads and perhaps shifting to things like lollo biondorosso and batavia rather than the expensive and not so exciting iceberg is the way to go. Our ready mixed salads have not changed price either.
Still available from Italy despite the weather are all the various types of radicchio including the beautiful castel franco and tardivo. Cima di rapa (turnip tops – like a wild broccoli) is a seasonal favourite and should not be overlooked when looking for something green to put on the plate.
As you can see from the photo blood oranges take centre stage this month. Grown on the slopes of Mount Etna they have a unique flavour. The early arrivals were quite pale in colour, but they are now coming through with a lovely red tinge. Later in the month, this will change to the full blood colour of the sanguinello and moro varieties. Marmalade makers will also know Seville oranges are in season. Order these now if you need as they are only around for a few weeks.
Forced English rhubarb has now started, wonderfully pink and thanks to the fact it is grown down a mine, is unaffected by the weather. A seasonal delight!. English Braeburn apples and conference pears are also readily available and in their prime now. Spanish strawberries are sweet and low in price, and clementines are all but finished, so we have now moved on to nardacots. From further afield, lychees are great at the moment too.
Lastly don’t forget all the dry goods that we stock, as well as dairy and eggs. We have all sorts of ricequinoalentilsbeans and chickpeasSundried and sun blushed tomatoes are always popular, and we have pesto sauce in 1litre tubs available at a special price of £5.99 at the moment.
Dates for your diary, Valentines Day (14 Feb), Pancake Day (28 Feb).
Don’t forget your lemons!

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