At long last, an aroma floats down the Buyers' Walk. It’s the smell of strawberries – unmistakable, delicious – and proof that summer is nearly here.
Both strawberries and tomatoes are abundant, and growing in flavour. (Over winter they can disappoint; the best is yet to come).
Most are still imported, but, as I write, the first English have arrived. There are even magnificent home-grown courgette flowers, the biggest I’ve seen (from C & C Fruit (Pavilion)).
The courgette flowers are grown under glass by Trevor and Becky Wilson in West Sussex.
"I'm renowned for a large flower," says Trevor, when I give him a call. He's been growing them for 18 years, initially encouraged by chef Albert Roux. From a third of an acre, his record is 260 boxes in a week - nearly 4000 flowers.
For a twist on the strawberry, Gilgrove are selling strasberries (strawberry crossed with raspberry) and pineberries (white flesh; flavour of pineapple).
'The World's Smallest Tomato'
All shades and sizes of tomatoes are here. Bruce White is selling mixed 5-kilo boxes of on-the-vine yellow, pink, red and black-ish tomatoes. Supplies from Italy are offered by S Thorogood and Sons and L'Orto di Sorrento.
For something unusual, Worldwide Exotics are selling the Tomberry – 'The World’s Smallest Tomato'.
English asparagus, of course, is everywhere, along with native purple sprouting, spinach, lettuce, the last of the wild garlic and first earlies (Jersey Royals and Cornish).
As for exotics, my favourite Alphonso mango is now in season, flown in from Mumbai. (suppliers include Worldwide Exotics).
Buy using your nose – you can smell the ripe mangoes from metres away, mingled with the scent of strawberries.
Have your say
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