Fruit & Vegetable Market Report [MAY]

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10/05/2017 - 12:35

 “It’s a team effort - Scotty does the selling and I do the purveying,” chuckles Danny Johnson of Premier Fruits.

Trophy from Premier Fruits at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Trophy at Premier Fruits at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

The trophy certainly adds sparkle to Buyer’s Walk, just like the kaleidoscope of new spring produce.

Asparagus, of course, is plentiful. English salads are also coming on strong, with Iceberg and oak leaf soon joining the earlier crops. Outdoor rhubarb is a good call, too - although you can still find the very last of the indoor pink at traders such as H G Walker.

British asparagus at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

British outdoor rhubarb at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

You’ll find some early strawberries, but the bulk are Spanish or Belgian. It’s still a touch early for most English soft fruit. Raspberries are your best bet; gooseberries and currants will be along soon.

Soft fruit at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

For homegrown veg, other highlights are wild garlic (some now flowering), curly kale and new potatoes such as Jersey Royals (chats; mids; ware) or Kentish.

Chats at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Kentish New Potatoes at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

There are local artichokes courtesy of S Thorogood, which are also holding the first British marrows of the season.

Spanish stone fruit is building up momentum. Apricots, nectarines and peaches have all just started. Cherries, too, although quality can be a hit and miss due to poor weather in some parts of Spain.

Apricots at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Nectarines at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Cherries at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Melons are also arriving in force from Southern Europe. You’ll find all the varieties on hard, such as Charentais, Galia, Cantaloupe and watermelons (pink / red and also on-trend yellow varieties).

Melons at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Mangoes and papaya hail from Central and South America. Late clementines are the Murcott variety from Spain, actually a cross between a tangerine and sweet orange. Headlines for veg include peas and broad beans from the continent. There's also a dazzling variety of tomatoes. 

Peas at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Cherry on the vine at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Other specialties include wild asparagus, Borlotti beans, chard, aubergines, puntarelle, courgettes (round; straight; flowers) radish, spiky cucumbers, cime di rapa, celeriac, fennel, flat leaf parsley, and the stunning violet garlic in the picture below. Try European Salad Company or The French Garden for more upmarket lines. 

Borlotti beans at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Rose garlic at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Spiky cucumbers at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Another rarity is this Ponzino lemon from European Salad Company, a rare citrus variety.

Ponzino lemons at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

Foraged goods include nettles, elderflower and the first of the European wild mushrooms such as girolle, mousseron (below at The Mushroom Man) and Morel.

Mousseron mushrooms at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – May 2017

See you in June, when summer will be in full swing. As always, use the Comments box for any questions or queries. 

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