Other headlines include the start of the Spanish season for cherries, melons, peaches, nectarines and apricots – all should begin eating well this month:
For the produce geeks, you might even spot the nispero (a.k.a. loquat), a lesser-spotted fruit also from Spain:
British strawberries are gathering speed, competing with imports from Belgium and others (see pic below for some Dutch). Spanish growers are now winding down:
British raspberries are worth a shout, as well as outdoor rhubarb:
As for lovely asparagus, you’ll find supplies from all over, including Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Herefordshire. All grades available, along with purple varieties, white forced and even wild (from the Continent):
Another bonus is that homegrown tomatoes are starting to offer proper flavour, such as these mixed boxes over at Bruce White:
For salads, the English season is with us. It started with Little Gem and baby leaf, then Iceberg and Cos, with larger Lollo Rosso, Lollo Biondi, oak leaf, endive and similar following towards the middle of May.
“We’re about a month ahead of last year,” explains Nick Padley at Side Salads, who can be admired below modeling some splendid spring onions:
Watercress is also on hand, both English and French, along with a a red variety (first picture below) from The Watercress Company in Dorset:
From the Continent, you’ll find plenty of radish and boxes of chunkier salads that have enjoyed a head start, such as these from The French Garden:
On the spud front, “Jerseys are getting cheaper by the week,” explains Matt Mole at P & I. You will also find new potatoes from Cornwall, Cyprus and others:
Leeks remain a bargain buy. (“So cheap – never seen this in eleven years of selling,” says Matt).
Peas and broad beans are available, often Italian:
Artichokes from the Continent include Jerusalem, globe and violet types:
For herbs and related specialties, wild garlic is hanging on in there. Even better are their flowers – a fabulous ingredient, with a sweet and subtle garlic flavour. Here are some bunches from European Salad, who also have bags of nettle tops:
Courgette flowers and cucumber flowers, the latter from Westlands and sold by Neil Brown Herbs and Premier Fruits, are another ingredients to turn the heads of even the most fussy foodie:
For wild mushrooms, ceps are unavailable but you’ll find plenty of girolles, St George’s (in first picture below), mousseron, morels (second picture below) and more:
These ‘shrooms would be divine sautéed with some wet garlic:
It’s worth noting that most British brassicas are now out of season, for example Cavolo Nero, purple sprouting and Savoy cabbage.
It’s certainly an epic report this month – but just you wait. Summer will be even better.
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