December brings a lovely array of wintry produce. I've got a soft spot for all the bitter leaves from Italy, such as a puntarelle (pictured above), cime di rapa and radicchio.
At the other end of the spectrum, leafy clementines are, obviously, an essential buy. You'll find insider tips for this line in our latest Special Christmas Product Profile.
Other on-form fruit includes English apples and pears. Main varieties are Cox, Braeburn, russets, Conference and Comice:
Juicy lychees are here, although it's still a touch early for prices to bottom out:
Kiwis and mangoes are sound bets this month. For soft fruit, blueberries and redcurrants are reliable. Strawberries may look the part, but the flavour is never dazzling in these colder months:
Dutch forced rhubarb is on hand in small volumes. Yorkshire crops will be along in the New Year (find out more in our Forced Rhubarb Product Profile):
From far-flung countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe, expect an early trickle of stone fruit such as peaches and nectarines:
Note that cherries are wincingly expensive right now.
As for vegetables, a light dawn rain added a sparkle to these sprout tops and, in the picture below, a box of bunched carrots:
All the British brassicas are tip top: standard and Romanesco cauliflowers; cabbages of all kinds (including January King); kales; and small volumes of purple sprouting:
Squashes are abundant, of course:
Roots of all kinds are also steady, including celeriac and these gnarly homegrown Jerusalem artichokes:
As for salads, British growers are generally winding down by now. Frisee and radicchio are some of the hardier crops that stretch into December.
These perky lettuces are from across the Channel:
From further south, enjoy crunchy fennel, speckled radicchio and those classy Italian winter greens:
Other Continental specialties include artichokes, round courgettes, winter radish, shallots, nettles, sand carrots, crosnes and Borlotti beans:
These radishes were looking particularly crisp and tempting:
Chilies are in fine fettle, too, including bite-sized, sweet eating peppers:
Don’t forget the nuts, including chestnuts, hazelnuts and walnuts: