Fruit & Vegetable Market Report [AUG]

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01/08/2017 - 10:53

Our scorching early summer is reflected in the topsy turvy colour of Buyers' Walk.

Discovery apples - first of the English season - arrived a few weeks early. Opal and Victoria plums were just as swift.

Discovery apples at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

In fact most fruit is a few steps ahead. English cherries are nearly over. Turkish black figs? Here already - currently airfreight, with bulk supplies coming soon.

It’s been hot and dry across much of Southern Europe. The UK recorded its highest June temperatures since 1976. All this has repercussion for growers, caterers and chefs, who need to plan accordingly.

Greengages are a homegrown highlight right now, pictured here with a backdrop of some of the last English cherries. (Read our recent Product Profile of cherries here).

Greengages at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Soft fruit is abundant. Cob nuts will arrive any moment. (French alternatives are available now).

Soft fruit at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

It’s also a glorious time for the full gamut of British veg. Expect to pay reasonable prices on the vast majority. The first English sweetcorn is on hand, and prices will drop week by week through August.

Sweetcorn at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Cauliflowers, leeks, courgettes, patty pans, marrows and carrots, for example, are a steal right now.

Courgettes at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

English tomatoes, chard, cucumbers and salads are on top form, too. Peas, bobby beans and broad beans are all abundant.

British peas at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

English bobby beans at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

After the traditional May to June gap, variegated kales are back, such as these from Molyneux Kale Company. (Read more in our Grower Profile).

Variegated kale at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Other brassicas include purple sprouting, Savoy, red and white cabbage and these pointy numbers at P & I.

Pointed cabbages at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

From Southern Europe, the stone fruit season will continue for another five weeks or so. These blush apricots from The French Garden are a classy choice.

Blush apricots at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Other options are plums and flat peaches and nectarines. There are some blush peaches about, too. The bulk of this stone fruit is coming from Spain.

Spanish plums at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Melons are also in their prime, including water melons, Charentais, Cantaline and these smooth-skinned melons from Italy.

Italian melons at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

On the fig front, here’s a selection - Spanish, Brazilian and Turkish, all in a row. French and Italian black figs are also excellent.

A selection of figs at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Pricey but delicious are French Muscat grapes - nothing beats their complex flavour.

French Muscat grapes at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Fresh almonds are another high-end import from our friends across the Channel.

Fresh almonds at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Other Continental specialties include rose and smoked garlic, tomatoes, coloured cauliflowers, watercress, aubergines, artichokes, celeriac, red-heart radish, purple beans, mooli, and the first Muscade squashes.

Muscade squash at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

Check out this wonderful Italian onion. Anyone know what variety this whopper is?

Mystery onion varietyat New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

From further afield, there are clementines arriving from South Africa, excellent mangoes and spikey lychees from Israel.

August is a low time for wild mushrooms. There are a few Cesar around, along with sporadic Cep and Girolle. This picture from The Mushroom Man is of a culivated Yellow Oyster, I believe. (To find out more about mushroom growing, seeing our Grower Profile of Smithy Mushrooms). 

Yellow oyster mushrooms at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market - August 2017

See you in September. As always, drop me a line with any comments or queries. 

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