The September highlight is British Food Fortnight, which seems to be bigger and better every year. With the uncertainty over the ‘B’ word, buying UK grown produce in the coming months could be more important than ever.
One of the best things about late Summer-Autumn is the superb Squashes available. There are lots to choose from including, Crown Prince, Acorn, Gem, Spaghetti, Casperitta, Table Star, Turk’s Turban, Large Yellow Pattipan and these Blaze Pumpkins (below). Squashes are also available in a mixed 10kg box (below)
For the first year ever, we have sold no Victoria Plums – the few days extremely high temperatures virtually cooked the fruit, so the quality and shelf-life were not good enough. However last week saw the start of Marjorie’s Seedling Plums, which are very good. Although smaller than the imported plums, they are packed full of Kent sunshine and flavour. They are also a great source of vitamins A, C and fibre.
UK Apples have also started recently, with the pick of the bunch being these Early Windsor (Kent) [below left] and Laxton’s Fortune (Sussex) [below right] varieties. There will be many other varieties to follow in the coming weeks, which will be in our October update.
British Pears are also just about to get going with Conference and William varieties available. British Rhubarb has finished until the indoor becomes available in the Winter and at the moment the Dutch grown is nowhere near as good quality-wise.
Fresh Peas, Broad Beans, Runner Beans and Bobby Beans are all still going strong and Brussels Sprouts (just for Christmas is a thing of the past) are also available. Swiss Chard and the more colourful Rainbow Chard [left] are also both British grown.
Also UK grown: Cobnuts, Marrow, Bramley Apples, (new season) Jacket Potatoes, Cauliflowers, Broccoli, Spinach, Iceberg, Cos Lettuce, Lollo Rossa/Biondi, Little Gem, Baby Spinach, Watercress, Celery, Baby Mixed Leaves, Savoy Cabbage, Hispee/Sweetheart Cabbage Leeks, Sweetcorn, Leeks, Celeriac, Baby Red Chard, Spring Onions, Baby Turnips, Baby Beetroot, Kale, New Potatoes.
Turkish Black Figs [right] are perfection right now, and have bright coloured, tasty flesh.
Although stonefruit including Peaches, Nectarines and Flat Peaches are all still going strong, these are likely to decline by late September/early October. French President Plums [left] are a good size and have a really good flavour. Greengages from France are also available. French Mirabelles are available too, but considerably more expensive than the standard plums.
White Seedless Grape is from Greece currently, and the Red/Flame Grape is from Spain, but likely to switch to Italian shortly. Also available currently are these stunning, French Muscatt Grape, which have a more intense, floral flavour, but does contain pips. If you can put up with these, the taste is excellent.
UK Cherries are all but finished, so they will be coming from the USA, which although will be good quality, the price will be higher than the British ones.
These alien looking Bitter Gourds [left], also known as Karella or Bitter Melons are not melons, but more closely related to courgettes and cucumbers They are extremely high in vitamins C and A and contain powerful antioxidants. They can be steamed or pan fried in a similar way to courgettes, or possibly best used with curries and soups because of its bitter flavour, which matches it well with chillies and hot spices.
As Autumn draws nearer, there tends to be more availability of wild mushrooms.
Girolles are certainly plentiful and more affordable. Both yellow & grey Chanterelles [below], Pied de Mouton & Trompette all look superb. Mouserron to follow shortly, but worth avoiding Cepes and Morels for now. Or for something completely different - Pink Lobster [left]. As well as being a pink/orange colour, it has a seafood-like aroma and the flavour of freshly cooked lobster!