Both DDP and many of its customers have got firmly behind British Tomato Week in recent years, so again we are dedicating this month’s update to British Tomato Week which starts from Monday 21st May.
There are some fantastic tomatoes available right now, including some beautiful Heritage ones from Nutbourne Nursery in Pulborough, Sussex.
You only get that special aroma from British Tomatoes, which is backed up by great flavour too. They have not travelled long distances under constant cold temperatures either and you can taste the difference in freshness. Not only are tomatoes versatile and can be cooked or prepared hundreds of different ways, they are also extremely healthy for you. They are a really good source of vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids and flavonoids. They also contain potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure and calcium, a must for healthy teeth and bones.
The mixed Heritage Tomatoes are available in 3kg boxes (smaller tomatoes) [top photo] or in 5kg boxes (larger tomatoes [bottom photo]. Here is a list of the varieties in the boxes: -
English Asparagus [below] is bang in season right now, from many different parts of the country, plus Purple Asparagus [right] is also available. Jersey Royals are still going strong and a bit cheaper. Alternatively, Cornish Earlies/Mids are due to start this week, along with Kentish New Potatoes. Purple Broccoli is good quality, despite the hot spell we had at the beginning of May, however Kale took a bit of a pounding with the strong sun.
Cauliflowers from Kent are good quality and Broccoli should be available towards the end of May (Spanish currently). Beautiful UK Rainbow Chard is now available. Rhubarb is still British-grown, but outdoor rather than indoor. Cavolonero is excellent quality from Lancashire. British Broad Beans are just around the corner (early June). Lots of UK grown baby bunched veg is due to start this week, including Bunched Baby Beetroot from Norfolk with other UK baby bunches such as Fennel, Turnip & Leeks all due to start shortly. Although the British Jerusalem Artichokes will be coming to an end, spring onions, cucumbers, spinach, cabbages, beetroot, wild garlic, banana shallots & large potatoes all remain UK grown. The high demand for the first batches of UK Strawberries during the few hot days of May caught many growers out, so although they have not been available for a few days, they are expected to start in earnest this week, from Staffordshire, Kent & Somerset.
As well as public holidays in the UK, there are also several across Europe during May, which can create supply and logistical headaches with non-arrival or late arriving produce.
Spanish Broccoli will continue to be on the high side pricewise until the UK starts in late May. Virtually all Melons have been a huge problem as the Spanish grown ones have not started and there are extremely limited numbers from South America, which has also see some high prices.
On the fruit side, there are some excellent Fuji Apples [below], which have a great flavour (until the UK start in Autumn), along with these Forelle (Blushed) Pears, both from S.Africa. Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots are due to start in a few days from Spain. Cherries, also from Spain, are also available, but possibly more affordable in a week or 2. There are also some very good Black Figs from Peru.
French Rainbow Radish [above] looks bright and vibrant, as does the fantastic new season fresh Garlic, [above] also from France. Fresh Sweetcorn (in husks) will be available from Morocco, until the British starts (Summer). Pineberries, Peachberries and Straspberries are not cheap and available to pre-order.