Fruit and Veg

Fruit and veg in season this December

Written by Tom Moggach
December 06, 2017

Frenetic and colourful - December is a unique month on the market, as wholesalers work hard to supply the festive frenzy.

Colour comes in the form of the dark greens and purples of British brassicas, such as sprouts and tops, kales, purple sprouting and cabbages of all kinds. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Sprouts Stick
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Kale

Later this month, I'll be writing a new profile on the mighty sprout - including a sneaky peak into top chefs' kitchens - so watch this space. The newer purple varieties are also available if you want to turn diners' heads.

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Purple Sprouts

Citrus from Spain and Italy brightens up Buyer's Walk, too. Leafy clems and lemons are in full flow. Navel oranges from Spain are building up steam. Italy is also sending rarer lines such as bergamot and cedro (pictured below - try European Salad Company or The French Garden). 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Clementines
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Cedro

I bumped into this couple from the The Swedish Church, picking up supplies for the staff who work on their Christmas Market. “In three days we have over 8,000 visitors to the market. So it’s busy busy,”  says Stina Envall, housekeeper and chef. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Swedish Visitors
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Buyers Walk

Other British lines in December include apples and pears from store (typically Cox, Braeburn, Bramley, Comice and Conference), roots (onions, carrots, beets, parsnip, turnips, swede, Jerusalem artichokes etc.), Rainbow Chard, squashes and even the last of the British salads - such as these radicchio in the second photo below, sold by H G Walker

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Jerusalem Artichokes
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Radicchio

The display below from The French Garden shows a glimpse of the best from the Continent.

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Display French Garden

Specialties include salsify (first picture below), Romanesco, fennel, celery, crosnes, radish, aubergines, radicchio, shallots, peppers and more. Salads are typically from southern France and Spain. At this time of the year, Morocco also becomes an important exporter of crops such as chillies and tomatoes. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Salsify
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Artichokes

Wet garlic is a lovely niche crop, with its subtle and sweet flavour. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Wet Garlic

I couldn't resist a box of Padron peppers - bought fresh, they hold up well and are delicious fried until lightly charred then served with a good pinch of flakey salt. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Padron Peppers

On the fruit front, this is an excellent month for pomegranates, quince, custard apples, and mangoes. Figs are typically Peruvian or Brazilian. At time of writing, lychees are still air freight (i.e. expensive) but by early December this should switch to sea. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Pomegranates
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Figs
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Lychees

This is also the season for grapes and stone fruit from South Africa, which is now eating reasonably well: plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines. 

Don't forget it's a prime time for nuts, dates and cranberries. If you are on Buyers' Walk, check out the range of dried nuts and fruits over at Gilgrove. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Nuts
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Nuts Gilgrove
Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Medjoul Dates

Soft fruit is still available - strawberries from The Netherlands and Belgium, with some posh fruit from France. Other berries are from far flung corners. 

Fruit And Vegetable Market Report December 2017 Berries

Wild mushrooms are available - but it's a jigsaw of origins. Mousserons had a second flush from Turkey, for example. Trompette are often Eastern Europe. Porcini are over from South Africa. Girolle are definitely on their way out. 

See you in 2018 for more from the market - once the traders have returned from a well-earned break.

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