In Season: January

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Vegetables

January continues to provide an excellent array of root vegetables including homegrown Parsnips, Carrots, Chantenay Carrots, Piccolo Parsnips, Beetroot. Both English Green Top and French Purple Top Turnips should reach their peak during January, as too should English Jerusalem Artichokes.

New season Scottish Swede should arrive no later than week 3 of the month - just in time for you to start using it in a variety of comforting winter soups and stews. Sweet and succulent and amazingly aromatic when raw, I reckon you’ll probably find them to be the best you’ve ever tasted.

We should see an influx of new season Italian Kohlrabi.

Lancashire grown Red Kale, Green Kale and Cavalo Nero (Black Cabbage) will remain excellent. Ideal for use in many oriental inspired dishes, as well as Mediterranean style soups and stews.

Cabbages generally, but especially January King Cabbage, as well as Cauliflower and Romanesco will thrive throughout the month, especially during colder spells.  The same colder spell will bring about an early end to Rainbow Chard.

 

 

Potatoes have remained stable for January however we are expecting increases towards the end of the month with storage and energy prices increasing.

The year will start with a few varieties of Winter Squashes remaining but these will definitely come to an end this month.  As alternatives, we have year round supply of Muscat Squash and Butternut Squash.

 

Fruit

If they haven’t already arrived by late December, Spanish Seville Oranges are all but guaranteed to be in the market by mid-January. As we’ve mentioned before, they need cold and frosty conditions in order to thrive, so if last month wasn’t quite chilly enough in their native habitat, then January most certainly will be.

 

 

Sicilian Blood Oranges should be at their bloodiest and most flavoursome by mid month - but, as with the aforementioned Seville oranges, they like it cold and so temperature will be a determining factor.

There’s an even chance that Mineolas, or possibly Clem Nour, will start to supplant Spanish Clementines and Satsumas as our standard variety of easy-peel citruses towards the end of the month as their season begins to wind down. But don’t be too despondent, because although the Clem Nour can be a bit scruffy looking, both alternatives are really rather good and will provide worthy replacements.

English Bramley Apples are particularly good this time of year. That’s because it’s been several months since they were harvested, during which time their flavour has been allowed to fully develop – just like fine wine, ale or whisky. Sharply sweet and wonderfully aromatic, their use can extend far beyond mere desserts. They can, for example, add a dash of fruitiness to savories – particularly spicy or curried dishes like mulligatawny soup, and their juice gives a touch of edginess to sauces or salad dressings.

English Russet Apples and Cox Apples provide for an excellent homegrown option this month.  Alongside English Comice Pears and Conference Pears.

Southern Hemisphere Grapes (specifically South African and South American) of all hues should be consistently excellent throughout the month.

Mauritian Lychees will arrive into the Market this month and will be in plentiful supply.

There’s a good chance that USA and Canadian Fresh Cranberries will finish at some point during the latter part of the month or shortly thereafter, at which time you’ll have to rely on frozen or dried.  Alternatively try our Boiron Cranberry & Cherry Puree or Stokes Cranberry Sauce.

 

Miscellaneous

Eggs will remain high in price with potentially reduced availability.  This has been caused by a massive increase in cost of production, a seasonal outbreak of avian flu, coupled with a period of higher demand.   In response to the avian flu outbreak, in November, DEFRA ordered that all free range birds be housed.  Current regulations require that for an egg to be defined as Free Range, birds must not have been housed for more than 16 weeks, meaning that in February all eggs may have to be sold as Barn Eggs.  DEFRA is currently considering relaxing the regulations in response to the more severe avian flu outbreaks we are experiencing each winter.

 

 

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb will hopefully arrive by week 2 or 3 of the month. Forced Rhubarb is grown in the dark in specially designed ‘forcing sheds’ in which the environment is strictly controlled. Such conditions produce yields that are sweeter, more tender, more brightly and evenly coloured, straighter, longer and more slender than outdoor grown varieties. Many of these factors make forced rhubarb particularly well suited for use in sweets, desserts, jams and preserves, because its extra sweetness, natural tenderness and attractive appearance means it requires less preparation, less added sugar and less cooking time to achieve superb results.

There should be an excellent and wide ranging selection of Wild Mushrooms throughout the month, which are likely to include Ceps (Porcini), Chanterelles (both Yellow and Grey), Giroles, Pied Bleu, Pied de Mouton and Trompette. Be advised as always, however, that they won’t necessarily all be available at the same time, so make sure you check with us regarding the availability of a particular variety before planning your menus.

Salad

The majority of our Salads (Cucumber, Peppers, Tomatoes, Iceberg, Cos, Celery & Gem) are coming in from Spain and there are currently no problems on the horizon.

Grelot Onions are similar in appearance to spring onions but with usually larger and flatter bulbs and a milder, sweeter flavour, and can likewise be used raw or cooked. The stalks are also edible and can be sliced and cooked like leek, briefly stir-fried or chopped and used raw like chive. They should arrive from Egypt by the middle of the month and are usually available in bunches consisting of around 4 good sized bulbs.

Both English and Italian Fennel should be excellent and in peak condition throughout the month.

Hampshire grown Watercress may be problematic if there are too many extended cold periods.

 

September Fruit Bowl

Surprisingly perhaps, January provides no shortage of options for those compiling fruit bowls, baskets and platters – as long as one is prepared to allow one’s carbon footprint to increase a few sizes by venturing further afield for inspiration.

If one is determined to stick with European produce then there’s a decent selection of UK and European Apples and Pears.

Clementines (both leaf and non-leaf varieties) and Satsumas will be of decent quality for most of the month but may start to decline towards the end. Oranges are usually excellent, with Blood Oranges reaching their peak by mid-month - if there’s sufficient frost in the Sicilian growing regions.

Italian Kiwis and Spanish Custard Apples will also still be available - although in not such abundance perhaps as they were prior-to and during Christmas. Israeli Sharon Fruit should still be excellent.

For the widest choice of produce, however, one must look to the southern regions of the globe, in particular South Africa and South America. Cherries will begin the month well, but expect the quality to start tailing-off towards the end. Peaches and Nectarines should be good throughout the month. Cape Plums, which usually start arriving in late December, will have improved greatly by early January.

As always, we’ll have a full compliment of Berries available however with product coming from further afield during the winter, the price conscious will want to avoid.  In January our Blackberries will be from Mexico, Blueberries from Peru, Raspberries from Morocco and Strawberries from Spain.

Lychees will be reasonably priced and of good quality - particularly early on.

 

 

South American Finger (aka “Apple”) Bananas are an ideal size for fruit basket presentations and, although pricey, will add greater substance and variety.

Pale-skinned, ivory-fleshed Ya Pears, which could hold claim to be the most attractive of all the pear varieties, will add a touch of real elegance to any display.

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