Fruit and Veg

August's Fruit and Veg Market Report

Written by Tom Moggach
August 01, 2011

'Bean time is lean time', goes the well-worn expression. It's summer holidays, also runner bean season. "A traditionally quiet time of the year," confirms Bob Bowers, salesman on P&I Fruits.
I'm loving this extra-relaxed atmosphere: tables appear outside Pavilion and Tony's cafes for al fresco breakfasts; traders have more time to chat.

Superb US 'Trout'

This month, I drove here straight from Kent, past misty orchards where apple growers are gearing up for their earliest season in years. On the Market, British-grown fruit includes Opal plums, blueberries, raspberries and currants. I snapped up some of the last Leveller gooseberries.

English strawberries had a wonky patch, with erratic weather disrupting the succession of varieties, but are getting back in their stride. The last cherries were washed out, but I tasted some superb US 'Trout' blacks from Washington at Premier Fruits.

Melons are abundant, including Cantaloupe, Galia, Water, and top-of-the-class Charentais. Other temptations include Muscat grapes from Jules Nourrit at The French Garden, apricots, figs, and pink and white flush peaches.

Native beetroots

The return of English purple sprouting is very welcome, at reasonable prices. Also expect native beetroots of all colours, peas (last few weeks), prime salad leaf of all types, new onions, carrots, broccoli, broad beans and new potatoes such as Charlotte.

For tomatoes, it's hard to resist San Mazarno and Datterini from Italy (at L'Orto di Sorrento) among the many on offer, plus the ravishing multi-coloured heritage varieties.

Next month, the Market will be revving back up. Let's hope the weather holds, and we can still sit outside for a cuppa in those first hours after dawn.


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