Total Produce August Market Report
Every month, we have the pleasure of receiving the award-winning Total Produce Market Report, courtesy of the legendary Charlie Hicks.
Here’s what he has to say about magnificent melons, stunning stone fruit, perfect peas, beautiful beans and veg in general.
There is also some insider advice on what to do with ludicrously expensive lemons as well as tremendous tri-coloured carrots!
For more information on this magnificent fresh produce and dry goods supplier, please visit: www.totalproducelocal.co.uk and follow @totalcharlie on Twitter!
August is a month of terrific late summer produce and there’s a hint of early autumn with the arrival of the first British plums and squashes.
There’s still plenty of stone fruit from mainland Europe. Peaches, nectarines and apricots are all still pitching up from growers in France and Spain with a bit of late season fruit from Greece. The big stone fruit news this month though is the start of the British plum season. UK growers are already sending us early varieties like Hermans and by the middle of August threshold be main crop varieties like Victoria and Marjorie Seedlings. As ever there’s a huge range of plums so check with your local depot to see what they’ve got. There’s already Reine Claude greengages from France and we should see the first British greengage by the middle of the month. By the end of August we may even see a few damsons.
British and other European cherries will finish by mid to late August and after that it’ll be airfreight cherries from the Americas only. Something to bear in mind if you’re writing new menus.
August is usually peak time for European melons but this year they’re neither as cheap or as plentiful as they were last season.
Last year melon prices were so low that Spanish growers lost quite a bit of money. This year they’re controlling supplies to the UK much more rigorously to make sure that they get a decent return.
Everyone’s got to earn a living and if we don’t look after our growers then they’ll disappear. Melons are still good value but not as cheap as they have been and this is no bad thing. Paying a fair price now helps secure future supplies
There’s some absolutely splendid figs coming in from France and Spain and we would expect to see the first Turkish figs by the end of the month. The Turkish fig season runs until early November and is usually that magical combination of quality and value, do bear them in mind.
After a rather difficult time things are much improved on the grape front with the start of the European season. There’s regular supplies of top notch new season fruit from Spain and Italy and some early Muscat from France.
Lemons, currently all from the southern hemisphere, are unusually dear. Poor weather has meant a poor crop. The Spanish lemon season is due to start round about the middle of September which is when prices should begin to ease. Current best lemon advice is use as sparingly as possible.
There’s plenty of home-grown strawberries and raspberries still coming through and they’ll be around for a while yet. Gooseberries and currants are on the final furlong and will probably be over by the end of the month. It’s the darker berries that are this month’s soft fruit highlight, British blackberries and blueberries really are at their best during August.
PEAS AND BEANS
A wonderful month for beans. Runner beans, a truly iconic British vegetable, are in cracking form and there’s plenty of top notch home-grown bobby beans as well. Expect peas and broad beans to finish up this month, their season is rapidly coming to a close.
There’s plenty of sensibly priced British courgettes. Regular green of course, some yellow and even a few of the round variety. Don’t forget their somewhat larger cousin, the marrow, there’s a fair few about. British squashes will start this month and pumpkins will be along shortly after that. There’s some excellent chard, both regular green and the rather more exciting multi-hued rainbow. There’s some pretty good French corncob coming across The Channel and the first British corncobs should arrive by the middle of the month.
New season Chantey carrots from Nottinghamshire. Very distinctive shape and a very fine flavour. The regular orange variety are being dug now and the very snazzy tri coloured varieties will be along in September.
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COOL THINGS COMING:
Squashes And Pumpkins