Edible flowers are the most obvious display of the summer to come:
English strawberries are another welcome sight:
(Note that supplies are up and down for now – Belgian, Dutch and Spanish are more consistent).
Other highlights for May include plentiful asparagus. Note the new packaging on the Chinn brand below, a grower we featured in a Product Profile earlier this year:
There's even some fancy wild asparagus, too:
English salads are building momentum, with spinach and iceberg lettuce amongst the first arrivals at Side Salads:
Mint is among the first of the British herbs, and baby kale is the latest in fashionable salad ingredients from their supplier G's:
Back on Buyer's Walk, the main shift at this time of year is from Spain to The Netherlands for bulk supply of peppers, cucumbers and the like, typically grown under glass.
From further afield, these peas and broad beans – mainly from Italy – are a chefs' favourite:
There are plenty of Jersey Royals still to be found, along with other new crop spuds:
In terms of staples, brassicas and roots are abundant, such as these Kentish cauliflowers:
Tomatoes are flooding in from all over, including the brilliant mixed boxes from Nutbourne Nursery in Sussex (see our Grower Profile):
Confusingly, tomatoes are technically a fruit while rhubarb – pictured below – is a vegetable. This crop below is British and grown outdoors:
Apples are often from New Zealand, Italy or Chile. Spain has just started sending first crops of stone fruit such as nectarines, but it will be a while yet until these are ripe and eating well:
For something more unusual, there’s still local wild garlic, nettles and now some classy agretti (a.k.a. monk’s beard), over from Italy:
Radicchios are another classy choice:
Or this pink wet garlic:
Courgette flowers, artichokes, aubergines, radishes, Roscoff onions, puntarelle, round courgettes, Jerusalem artichokes and runner beans are among other Continental options to consider:
Wild mushrooms are always tricky at this time of year. St George's mushrooms (pictured below) will be around for this month only. Morels, cep and Pied Bleu also available:
See you next month for June’s Market Report.
I can’t wait. Not long now until the gooseberries arrive – for me the (overlooked) star of British soft fruit.