Total Produce April Market Report – What’s in Season for Your Kitchen
Cry God for Harry, England and St George! St George’s Day, 23rd April, is the official start of the British asparagus season. Outdoor Jersey Royals and outdoor rhubarb start this month and we might even see a few very early British strawberries. There’s more and more wet garlic but wild garlic is coming to a close.
It’s April and suddenly tomatoes are everywhere.
There’s the last of the Spanish season, the first of the Dutch season and, as the month goes on, we’ll see more and more tomatoes from growers in the UK. Light levels are as important to good tomato growth as heat or food so longer days mean more tomatoes. Soon there will be a wonderful range of home-grown tomatoes in all manner of colours, flavours shapes and sizes.
British tomatoes have never been in such good shape. New varieties and new technology mean huge improvements in quality and flavour. We’ve always grown tomatoes in the UK but in recent years we’ve got an awful lot better at it.
The 23rd of April is St Georges Day and that marks the official start of the British asparagus season.
There’s been limited supplies of home-grown asparagus since the end of January when those very clever chaps at Wye Valley cut the first spears but April is the month when most growers start their harvest, usually towards the end of the month. The warmer it gets the more asparagus there’ll so let the weather be your guide to asparagus availability.
The British asparagus season usually runs till the end of June so get ready for a couple of months of utter asparagus joy.
Yorkshire Forced rhubarb is coming to an end rather earlier than usual and the outdoor rhubarb crop isn’t really up to speed yet. Normally the indoor and outdoor crop conveniently overlap but not this year, it’ll be the end of the month before outdoor rhubarb really gets going.
Early British salads are creeping in. There’s the first of home-grown cucumbers and some early little gem and flat lettuce that are grown under glass. The big salad problem this month will be iceberg, the Spanish season is coming to an end and the first of the UK crop won’t be ready till about mid May.
Jersey Royal potatoes are still fairly dear. We’ve had the tunnel grown stuff since March and the first of the outdoor crop will be lifted round about the middle of this month. Mostly small spuds or mids at first with very limited supplies of the larger ware. By May we should start seeing better supplies and lower prices.
A few early Cornish new potatoes are just starting to appear and there’s plenty of Majorcan New which is the current best value option.
Supplies of cauliflowers are very limited, if you do find any they’ll be expensive and the high price will be no indication of quality. This is because cauliflowers are particularly sensitive to climate, much more so than any other brassica, and that very warm, wet December meant that cauliflowers matured far too quickly.
The cauliflowers we should be harvesting now had to be cut over Christmas so there was a glut then and there’s a shortage now. This didn’t just happen in the UK, cauliflower growers all over Europe suffered the same fate so cauliflowers are probably best avoided till the new season starts in June.
The first Moroccan peaches have been spotted in Rungis by our man on the market Ed Bowyers. They’re currently pretty dear but prices should start easing by the end of the month. An excellent indicator of stone fruit joys to come. By May we should start getting the first peaches. nectarines and apricots from growers in Spain swiftly followed by supplies from Italy and France.
- This will probably be the last full month of wild garlic, it’s usually over by early May.
- There’s a fair few peas and broad beansfrom Spain and Italy, prices are beginning to ease.
- Blood oranges will finish up by early May.
- Supplies of Egyptian wet or green garlicare joined by an early smattering from Italy.
- There’s plenty of very decent strawberries and raspberries from Spain and we might even see a few early British strawberries this month.