I’m still buzzing from a visit to the beautiful apple and plum orchards of grower Mark Eastwood in Kent – read the profile here.
September is the proper start of the English apple season, bringing Discovery – the early variety – and Bramley before a cascade of others. For the full sequence, the list here is useful.
Opal plums are over, moving on to Victoria and Jubilee – plus some damsons, too. You may scoop some greengages, if you’re lucky. France is also sending the first of their Mirabelle plums.
English cobnuts have just started. At this stage, they have a fresh, milky crunch – very addictive.
These chestnuts, on the other hand, are French. (Note that the first wet walnuts are on their way, too).
The other headline for fruit are the Turkish black figs – always a bargain, and here for the next couple of months.
To mix it up a bit, here’s a rare black and white photo of some of the P & I crew in the early hours. The dawns down here are stunning, too.
Back to the colour – here’s a sample of the squashes and pumpkins now flowing in. I won’t claim to know the names of all the varieties.
Homegrown courgettes are abundant and well-priced.
Other British veg of note include excellent tomatoes, sweetcorn, chard, runners, peas and bobby beans.
Brassicas are strong, including kale, Cavolo Nero, cauliflowers and broccoli.
New potatoes are on good form, too.
For Continental specialties, this photo of the display at The French Garden will give you a flavour of what’s available.
Other finds include top quality Jerusalem artichokes, decent Italian radicchio and French bunched watercress.
On the exotic front, here’s a quick quiz. Anyone identify these two fruits below – both from wholesaler Gilgrove? You’ll find the answer at the end of the report.
These prickly pears from Sicily share some of this character.
Lychees are a little on the prickly side, too.
Other fruit of note includes peaches, nectarines, melons and watermelons – but note that the Spanish season is now winding down. For British soft fruit, you’ll find strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and perhaps the occasional red gooseberry.
For a final splash of colour, check out these Chioggia beets and edible flowers.
Top marks if you got both the names of the fruit. The first is the “soursop”; second “Buddha’s fingers” – a rare citrus. See you in October, for the first of the autumn's market reports.