Updated: Nov 6, 2019
Nights may be drawing in, temperatures falling and thoughts starting to turn towards Christmas, but there is still plenty of local seasonal produce to take centre stage of any menu! Thus far the season has been kind for the main part, and we are forecasting a pretty good November to look forward to.
The harvest of Kentish apples and pears is now finished and the fruit is now chilled down to last us reliably through to Spring. Jonathan visited Newlands Farm the day they finished picking apples, and they were finishing picking strawberries the same day! That just goes to show how mild it has been. The apples and pears are kept in large bins in reduced oxygen stores at just 2 degrees celsius which suspends the fruit until it is needed, hence we now enjoy such a long season. When the fruit is ready to be packed, it is transported through the packing facilities using water to reduce the chance of damage and ensure fruit arrives in tip-top condition. Cox, gala, braeburn, bramley apples and conference and comice pears are all in good supply from our friends at Newlands Farm and Hoaden Court Farm! Enjoy these local varieties rather than golden delicious and granny smiths.
All imported fruit is also looking good and there are no anticipated problems for November. Prices and availability should be stable for melons (Brazil), oranges (Spain), lemons (Spain), plums (Italian), limes (Mexico) pineapples (Costa Rica), and berries coming mainly from Spain and Argentina. The one exception may be grapes as we finish off the European season and move to the Southern Hemisphere, but currently we expect to last through November in Europe.
With festive thoughts not far away, french quince and chestnuts are now good and in stock. These will be joined by some leafy clementines later in the month.
It is beautiful brassica season with many wonderful leaves coming through! Some farmers have struggled slightly getting onto their fields due to the constant wet deluge, but so far our corner of the country has stood up well. Cauliflowers, cavello nero, curly kale, russian kale, savoy cabbages, and purple sprouting are all recommended.
Joining these mighty brassicas is the wonderful sprout! Trevor Bradley of Boundary Farm grows all of our sprouts and sprout tops from now through to January. A real favourite and obviously a festive staple, it is time to celebrate the Kentish sprout!
November is always a good month to bring through winter roots onto menus. Maincrop root veg is now plentiful, including carrots, parsnips, swede, celeriac, beetroot (red, candy, golden) and turnips. Some of the smaller more delicate varieties are also particularly good now such as piccollo parsnips and chantenay carrots.
Just because Halloween has passed don’t forget our Kentish pumpkins nor our broad range of mixed squashes, all readily available and good value.
With Christmas in mind do remember that we offer a full range of prepared vegetables, including sprouts and roast root mixes. Order times will be moving earlier to 3pm cut-off, but further details, together with our whole Christmas range, will be communicated later this month.
All potatoes have now been lifted with welcome relief that yield is so much better than last year. Prices should be stable through to next year as there are no anticipated challenges, with steady supply and demand.
Feedback from chefs on our Kentish provenance chippers is excellent and proving a real rival to national brands such as Chippies Choice. Do try them, they make a superb chip or roast potato! Provenance Potatoes vary the variety throughout the season to ensure a high quality light, golden fluffy chip.
As potato harvest comes to an end we also can enjoy new season speciality potatoes grown in Tenterden on the Morghew Estate. Perfect for an exciting, alternative luxury spud! Varieties include burgandy red, vitolotte, pink fir, charlotte and yukon gold or enjoy our 5kg exotic mix of all five!
Traditionally November 1st heralds the end of many UK and Dutch growing seasons and the start of the Spanish (how pleased are we that Brexit has moved!). Starting now are all the new season Spanish salad leaves, peppers, aubergines, cucumbers, courgettes and tomatoes, with broccoli joining in a few weeks. The weather has been good so availability is fine, prices will be stable, albeit slightly higher than local UK due to additional transport costs.
News from further afield
The much publicised challenges with avocados continue and show no sign on being solved quickly. California is growing more avocados than ever but demand continues to outstrip supply. Prices are not helped as the Chinese are happy to pay a premium.
Beans, mangetout and sugarsnap peas are all now coming from Kenya. Harvest is currently fine but there has been a lot of wet weather, this could impact prices towards the end of the month.