S E P T E M B E R
British Food Fortnight...
British Food Fortnight is one of the high points of the food calendar and as this year has been tougher than usual for all growers, it is worth championing even more.
With record high temperatures and virtually no rainfall since Spring, this will mean there will be plenty of shortages this Autumn, as yields are down dramatically e.g. pumpkins and potatoes. This has an inevitable impact on market prices when products are scarcer. This problem will not be unique to the UK as countries such as Spain have experienced similar unprecedented conditions.
Superb UK Squashes have recently started, grown by Bedlam Farms in Cambridgeshire, with a huge colourful and delicious range. This includes: Gem, Harlequin, Delicata, Casperita, Kabocha, Crown Prince, Turk’s Turban, Munchkins (Baby Pumpkins), Pattypan, Sweet Lightning, Onion, ‘Mashed Potato’, Festival and Spaghetti. All available by individual variety or even better still, grab a mixed 10kg box.
Although available now, UK grown items such as Damsons and Cobnuts are expected to finish early. This may be a familiar pattern with UK lettuces and salads, which could also finish earlier than usual.
British Plums are really good quality, but won’t be around for too much longer so grab them while you can.
UK runner beans and broad beans have all but finished or become too expensive. These British Marrows are perfect right now.
Although Jersey Royals are finished, there are still Pink Fir and Ratte Potatoes from Kent, in addition to New Potatoes/Mids.
UK Heritage Tomatoes are still going strong into September, as are Annabel’s Strawberries. British Blackberries and Raspberries have been superb quality and should keep going a little longer..
There is nothing tastier right now than UK grown Sweetcorn (in husks). Again, not around forever so make the most of them!
Although the growing conditions throughout Spring & Summer have been less than ideal for a lot of items, UK Apples and Pears are expected to be very good quality this Autumn. Early Windsor are the pick of the bunch for the beginning of the season, along with Cox just started. Russets are also available and should settle down pricewise once they get into full swing.
Kale, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Watercress, Savoy Cabbage, Broccoli, Parsnips, Chantenay Carrots, Hispee Cabbage, Celeriac, Leeks, Swede, Spinach are all UK grown.
Donkey Carrots are being imported currently and although they are UK grown currently, Cauliflower numbers are down dramatically, which is affecting availability and prices.
Although severely affected by the Summer drought, new crop Jacket Potatoes are available, but we expect a rise in prices and all larger potatoes will become an issue with regard to sizing, as there has simply not been enough water to enable usual growth.
Although the range of what is available changes regularly – foraged from the land, woods and marshes: Sea Purslane, Sea Beets, Sloes, Alexander Seeds, Rowen berries and Scott’s Pine. Availability changes weekly and if you want to be included in the weekly update on foraged foods, please let us know.
Spanish stonefruit including peaches, nectarines and apricots will be coming to an end in the next few weeks. Also, Spanish Watermelons have been decimated by the hot temperatures a few weeks back, so the season is expected to finish early. This has already been evident with the smaller melons coming to the UK. There will almost certainly be a gap between the Spanish finishing and the South American starting (both too expensive), so worth taking off the menu soon. Other melons have been OK, albeit some on the small side at times.
These Spanish Mangoes have been excellent quality (not air-freighted). Although there has been far less in the UK the past couple of years, Yellow Plums have also been available of late. Mirabelle Plums are also around currently.
Turkish Black Figs are delicious and good value currently. Large Quince is also available from Turkey.
After a wonderful UK and European Cherry season, these are now only from Canada and quite expensive.
Belgian Pears should hopefully be replaced by UK grown ones in the coming weeks.
On the exotics side, Lychees, Rambutan, Mangosteen, Dragonfruit, Starfruit, Physalis – are all readily available.
Globe and Jerusalem Artichokes (awaiting UK) are currently Italian. French Romanesque, Purple Cauliflowers and Orange Cauliflowers [above] are available to order.
Purple and Yellow (Heritage) Carrots are coming from France as are these Sandy Carrots [below]. Most of the UK grown baby veg has or is coming to an end so much of this is coming from France, including these bunched Baby Golden Beetroots (candy and red also available).
Subject to more rainfall overseas in the coming weeks, more wild mushrooms should become available. At the moment, Girolles, Cepes/Porcini and Pied de Mouton are obtainable. (Always best to provide some extra notice on these if you can).