The Wellington Weekly
I must fess up and admit that compiling this week’s report has been somewhat challenging. You see, although in the northern, temperate regions the month of June sees more fruit come into season than at any other period, it’s still only early days. This means that many of the delights we have yet to enjoy are still concealed in the wings and awaiting their entrance on stage. What I’m trying to say is that not much has happened since last week and therefore you shouldn’t expect any revelations that might cause you to grab the edge of the kitchen counter and slap your forehead in disbelief. So, baring all this in mind, I’ll at least attempt to be reasonably interesting.
I observed last week how astonishingly aromatic new season English Coriander was, and would like this week to briefly return to the subject in order to assure you that my words were not mere hyperbolic indulgence. If anything, on my most recent visit to the market a few days ago, its presence was even more conspicuous, with its piquant, heady scent infusing the air surrounding the stands wherever it was on display. If I was selling it as a designer perfume, I’d describe it as pervasive, persuasive and provocative.
English Flat Parsley is, according to our buyer, ‘’outstanding’’.
The majority of all our Salad Leaf varieties are now home-grown, included among which are Iceberg, Cos/Romaine, Oakleaf, Lollorosso and Lollobiondi. One possible exception is Frisee, because domestically grown examples often tend to lack the substance offered by continental imports from France and Italy.
The arrival of new season English Broccoli is expected to be imminent.
There was talk that new season English Broad Beans had started, but there was no sign of them as of a few days ago. Both Moroccan Flat (Helda) Beans and Bobby Beans (a thicker, ‘’meatier’’ type of Fine Bean) are looking fresh and verdant, feel firm and crisp and taste sweet and succulent.
At the time of writing, English Summer Savoy Cabbage appears to be a little short and English Curly Kale is still proving difficult. English Spring Greens, on the other hand, are thriving. English Leaf Spinach, too, is highly recommended. Hispi Cabbage is as consistently sweet and succulent as ever, as well as being quite dense and tightly-packed, making it high-yielding and therefore very cost-effective.
The price of English Asparagus is now at rock-bottom, whilst its quality is at its peak.
French ‘’Brittany Prince’’ Globe Artichokes are truly awesome to behold. English Baby Violet Artichokes are no less inspiring to the eye, and the ones I saw recently in the market were organically-grown, to boot.
The Tomatillo (pictured above) is a round, usually bright green, tomato-like fruit belonging to the nightside family and native to Mexico. Each cherry tomato sized fruit is encased in a semi-transparent, dry papery husk, very similar to that of physalis. Its flavour is slightly more acidic and not quite as sweet as most conventional tomatoes; furthermore, its texture is denser and less watery. Widely used in Mexican sauces, salsas and dips, Tomatillos are very versatile and can be used raw to add a fresh, tangy, almost citrusy flavour to summer dishes, or, to access their mellower, more savoury qualities, they can be fried, grilled or roasted.
There’s really not much I can say about Italian Medium Bunched Beetroot that cannot be expressed in the captured image I acquired of them a few days ago (below).
I spotted a few (very few, in fact) trays of Lychees in the market during my last visit there. I failed to glean from where they originated, which was remiss of me, I know, but I think it’s safe to assume they weren’t grown in Milton Keynes.
This year’s crop of English Strawberries are among the prettiest and most aromatic I’ve seen (or smelt) for quite a while. Also, the grading seems more consistent, which means more uniformity in the relative size of each fruit within the same punnet.
Our plan (no, let’s not call it a plan exactly, but more an aspiration) is to switch at some point during the week from Spanish Angelino to Red Beauty Plums - the news of which, be in no doubt, has injected a hefty dose of joyousness unbound into my otherwise dreary existence.
At the time of writing, the only fresh Wild Mushrooms in the market are Bulgarian Girolles.
Apples continue to be a cause for concern in terms of both availability and price. At the time of writing, Braeburns remain impossible to source, Bramley Cooking Apples have become scarcer and Pink Lady are beginning to get very difficult.
Onions remain problematic for the time being, but the situation should hopefully soon start to improve with the first of the new season Spanish imports now beginning to arrive.
As mentioned overleaf Curly Kale remains problematic and the availability of English Summer Savoy Cabbage is a little short in the market.
Lemons are still very expensive.
Kiwis appear to be also a little short at present, and the size of what are available are somewhat diminutive.
English Runner Beans are now in season, but they have yet to appear in the market, which means that, for the time being at least, South African imports are all that are available. As mentioned previously, the problem with the imported ones is that they arrive pre-packed, which causes them to sweat and ultimately become rotten very quickly. Our advice is therefore the same, which is to either buy frozen ones or to entirely avoid them until new season English fresh ones arrive.
At the time of writing, the market availability of Celery remains tight.
The availability of Purple Sprouting Broccoli also remains very tight.
Tenderstem Broccoli is much more abundant, but very expensive.
Romanesco remains elusive, to put it mildly.
The market price of Pre-Peeled Garlic remains very high.
Fruit of the Week