Fruit and Veg

Fruit and veg in season this April

Written by Tom Moggach
April 05, 2018

April is when time speeds up. After a few sluggish months, new lines arrive thick and fast as the weather gets warmer.

It was super busy when I visited for this report - the shift of the clocks forward also adds a spring to the step. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Side Salads
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Order Board

At the start of April, key English lines include wild garlic and Jersey Royal potatoes (available in mids and ware grades from wholesalers such as P & I, London Fresh and Premier Fruits). 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Wild Garlic
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Jersey Royal Potatoes

Asparagus is trickier. Last year, early crops had already hit the Market at the start of April. But recent cold weather has delayed the first cuts - so expect supplies to begin around mid month. ("I'm aiming to cut around 10th April," says grower Andy Allen of Portwood Asparagus, who will feature in our Chef's Guide to Asparagus published later this month).

The picture below is of organic Spanish asparagus over at Langridge. You'll also find green, purple and white asparagus from the Continent sold by various wholesalers on Buyers' Walk.

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Asparagus

These images are close-ups from a brand new range - the 'English Mix' from Koppert Cress, a mixed box that includes their Affila, Scarlet, Ghoa and Vene microherbs. Don't you love the way pea shoot tendrils stretch and intertwine? (Find out more about this Dutch producer in our Grower Profile here.) 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Pea Shoots
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 English Mix Koppertcress
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Kokopelli English Mix

Further British lines for April include kales, cabbages (end of crop), cauliflowers, parsnips, swedes, beetroot and the first salad crops such as heritage tomatoes and cucumbers, grown in heated greenhouses. Here are organic cucumbers from Alderton Nurseries near Tewksbury, again sold by Langridge

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 English Cucumbers

Special mention should be made for local Jerusalem artichokes and purple sprouting - definitely a good call at this time of year. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Jerusalem Artichokes
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Purple Sprouting

It's also the start for outdoor rhubarb. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Outdoor Rhubarb

From further afield, it's the tail end of the European season for easy peelers. You'll still find late variety Nardacott clementines, plenty of blood oranges, and lovely leafy lemons. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Lemons

Exotic highlights include pineapples, mangoes and melons - often from around South and Central America. I took home a box of these sublime airfreight mangoes from Venezuela from Premier Exotics

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Mangoes

Note that English apples are all but over and prices are high for many substitutes such as French Golden Delicious. 

Don't forget that many items are in stock almost all year round, such as these banana leaves, lemongrass and okra at Premier.

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Lemongrass Banana Leaves
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Okra

From France and Italy, lines include salads, courgettes, watercress, agretti, radicchio, aubergines, peppers, salsify, chard, radish and celery. 

These are baby artichokes, typically eaten raw in salads. (For the full low-down see last month's A Chef's Guide to Artichokes, which features an interview with top chef Giorgio Locatelli). 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Baby Artichokes

Peas and broad beans offer a lovely early taste of spring.

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Peas

This is a close-up of a borage flower, still in bud, from The French Garden. The leaves are used in various peasant dishes and as a filling for pasta. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Borage

Below are wild hops (a.k.a. bruscandoli) at European Salad Company. The chap holding them is a chef called Piero from Piero's Italian Restaurant in Ingatestone, Essex. He explained he was using them in a pasta dish: linguine with bruscandoli and white truffle. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report April 2018 Bruscandoli

Quality of wild mushrooms can be a bit hit and miss. You'll find some Turkish morels, Portuguese girolle and St George from specialists such as The Mushroom Man and Bruce White.

See you in May for next month's #inseason report. In the meantime, feel free to send any questions or queries using the boxes below. 

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