The Wellington Weekly
Global warming! Don’t make me laugh! Plummeting temperatures meant that the other night I had to snap my dog from off the lamp post, and there are rumours that in the coldest parts of the country snowmen are threatening to go on strike unless they’re issued with bodywarmers. What I’m trying to convey is that the weather has turned a bit nippy over the last week or so, the consequences of which may have an impact on the supply of certain types of produce with regards the ability of growers to harvest them. At the time of writing, though, I’ve received no alerts of any specific crops so far being thus affected. It is likely, however, that they’ll be a knock-on effect which may not be felt for perhaps another couple of weeks.
English Savoy Cabbage is still in peak condition and stunning to behold, as is English January King Cabbage with its blue-ish green and deep purple leaves, tightly-packed to form a firm round head. For a paler, more tender and perhaps sweeter alternative, you should maybe consider pointy-headed Portuguese Hispi Cabbage(pictured left), which are large-leafed, compact yet substantial in size, and therefore high-yielding in terms of volume. As one might expect at this time of year, Parsnips, Swede and Turnips are all doing really well and are highly recommended, as are homegrown Chantenay Carrots of all colours.
English Cauliflower is of a good size, firm, creamy and unblemished. French Romanesco (pictured right) is also of a good size, is well formed and vibrant.
English Tenderstem Broccoli is still available in dribs and drabs, but Kenyan imports are now much more prevalent.
English Chard is quite scarce and may be coming to an end, consequently we’re having to rely on Spanish and Italian imports.
English Red Root Leaf Spinach has now all but departed, but there are a couple of alternatives you might like to consider. Firstly there’s English Beet Spinach, aka Leaf Beet, which isn’t a spinach but is a relative of beetroot - but one which doesn’t possess a bulbous root. Its leaf structure and texture is similar to baby spinach (hence its name) and likewise can be served raw or briefly heated in a pan using only the water still clinging to the leaves after washing them. Secondly, there are Italian Rape Greens (see picture), which I recently encountered in the market and whose leaves I must say were the smallest (which is good) and tenderest (which is even better) I’ve ever seen. Their taste is similar to kale, but less bitter, and they can be prepared and cooked (including the stalks) just like spinach.
It’s fair to say that when it comes to Mixed Heritage Tomatoes we tend to very much favour the selections offered by French growers above all others - including those from the UK. At the time of writing, however, the only ones available in the market are coming from Morocco. I must admit that I’ve not had the chance to find out how the Moroccan might differ from the French in terms of the range and number of varieties included, but from past experience I’d say that they provide a pretty good alternative.
To conclude, I’d just like to make you aware that you can find a complete listing of our Christmas and New Year Opening Times on both our website and as an attachment to our weekly mail shot.
Actually, there’s just one more thing I’d like to add, which is that this will be the last you’ll hear from me until January 2018 (please try to contain yourselves). So myself and everyone else here at the veg factory would like to extend our thanks to all of you for your custom and wish you an enjoyable and not too stressful Christmas and a happy, prosperous and, above all, peaceful New Year.