The Total Produce October Market Report
Halloween’s coming and pumpkins are here, along with a very decent range of British squashes. Things are a bit gloomy on the fig front but there’s cheering citrus news from Spain. French and British apples are absolutely tip top and don’t miss out on the Osteen mango.
PUMPKINS & SQUASHES
With Halloween at the end of the month our thoughts inevitably turn to pumpkins. There’s already a fair few pumpkins coming on to the markets and there should be a goodly supply in the lead up to Halloween. If you can it’s always best to order your pumpkins in advance, demand can be high towards the end of the month. Please do always give us an idea of what size pumpkin you would like, they do vary. Let us know an approximate weight or width you want and we’ll make sure you get what you need.
Alongside pumpkins there’s a very decent range of squashes from growers right across the UK, the ideal ingredient for your October menus.
There’s already some early British pears but it’ll be towards the end of the month before they really get going. Most of these will be Conference, the UK’s most popular pear by far. Nearly 90% of the pears grown in this country are Conference and most of the rest will be Comice which part a little later.
There’s a some early quinces from France and a limited but growing number from this side of the Channel.
It’s apple time here in Britain and there’s a wonderful range of top notch top fruit coming through. Many of our depots work with apple growers local to them so do check with your local depot to see what they’ve got that’s local to you. There’s also some very decent new season apples from mainland Europe, particularly France. At Total Produce we believe in offering our customers the widest possible choice, both local and global.
We are in the middle of the Turkish fig season and Turkish figs should be plentiful but sadly this is not the case. Supplies are not great and, if you can find them, figs are costing quite a lot more than they
did last season. This is because UK fig prices were so low at the beginning of the season that Turkish growers simply stopped sending them over here. it simply wasn’t worth it. Apparently there’s quite a few Turkish figs going to Russia where they fetch a rather better price.
SUPPLY SOURCE SWAPS
There’s two big changes in sources of supply this month that are sure to impact on your menus. The European melon season is over so we are switching to supplies grown in the southern hemisphere, mostly South America. Inevitably, with much longer distances involved, prices will rise.
Much better news on the citrus front. There’s more and more new season citrus coming from Spain and after a very tricky summer lemon prices are at last back down to reasonable levels. Early Spanish satsumas are the first of the easy peelers to arrive and we can look forward to Spanish oranges by the end of the month.
October sees the start of some rather exciting fruit from southern Europe that can help bring a touch of the exotic to your menus. Heading up this list has to be that most fashionable of fruit, the pomegranate. There’s very decent quantities already pitching up from growers in Spain and Turkey and this should continue through the winter. There’s all kinds of rather extravagant claims made for the health giving properties of this supposed superfood. We couldn’t possibly comment, we’re greengrocers not dieticians, but we do know that the pomegranate’s jewel like seeds are a truly glorious garnish.
The first custard apples from Spain are already here and we expect the first Spanish persimmons by the end of the month.
Osteen mangoes from Andalusia in Spain are one of the few mango varieties grown in Europe. Don’t be put off by the rather murky skin colour, a sort of muddy purple, cut into them and you’ll find a rich, orange flesh that is virtually fibre free and has an excellent flavour. Do hurry though, the season is short, usually finishing in mid November.
By the end of the month the first prickly pears from Southern Europe should be in the markets. Prickly pears are grown right across southern Europe but mostly for home consumption. Our main sources of supply are Italy and Spain.
British plums, including damsons, are finished for the year. Italian Angelenos – black skin, yellow flesh – are the most widely available plum at the moment, not the greatest flavour. Limited supplies of early purple sprouting broccoli from UK growers. There should be more along soon.