We made it! After surviving the 175 days it felt like January has had, our joy continues by welcoming a larger selection of locally grown produce as well as more exciting exotics from our friends across the waters. We have really enjoyed seeing all of your creative dishes with our produce throughout Veganuary and look forward to seeing how they adapt to mirror the changing seasons!
Galas are the apple of the moment in February, with our delightful range coming in from Fiona and Hugh Boucher at Newlands Farm, and J Colthrup at Hares Farm. Sadly, we do say farewell to our beautiful Pears from Tom Hulme at Hoaden Court Farm but will be moving over to the new season from Belgium. Belgium is closer to us, as the crow flies, than Lincolnshire, so rest assured that where possible, our focus is very much still focussed on food miles and provenance. In these Brexit driven days, does local have to mean British? We’ll leave that debate there…
Brassicas really come into their own this month, with the delightful January King Cabbage ready to grace your dishes, and the seasonal favourite, Savoys, remain in bountiful supply. Purple Sprouting Broccoli has indeed made its jubilant return and, in addition to his Swiss Chard last month, Paul Vasey-Wells can now offer us Bunched Beetroot and Cavolo Nero from Walmestone Farm.
There is no change with our hardy Roots, including Carrots, Turnips, Celeriac, Parsnips, Beetroots (of different shapes and colours) and Swede. They continue to be resilient and abundant, with no anticipated issues and good supply. Red and Brown Onions are proving our predictions correct, with the anticipated season to continue strongly as they come out of store.
We are excited to be stocking Black Garlic and Parsley Roots and have welcomed Vegetable Oil from Danbury Oils in Essex, available in 20ltrs.
The famous Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is trading well, and the season sets to run until March. It really is a stand-out product, so, if you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend that you do soon.
The Potato Shop, at Morghew Park in Tenterden, are offering a delightful mix of blue potatoes; Salad Blues, Violettas and Vitelottes, which will certainly bring a splash of colour to your dishes!
In addition, our Provenance Chippers farmed from Mongeham Farm, Deal, remain a popular alternative, as our locally grown competitor, to Maris Pipers and Chippers Choice. They are being received with rave reviews, and if you haven’t tried them yet, they are a must!
As previously reported, some potatoes were lost during the wet autumn but the market has stabilised once again and we anticipate supply and pricing to remain steady throughout February. We do predict a slight price increase in March, these should only be marginal changes, in line with the increased cost of storage later in the season.
We have recently welcomed the beautiful Kumato, following on from our focus on Spanish Heritage Tomatoes last month. Sweeter than normal tomatoes, but with a contrasting slightly sour note, they make for a unique and clearly defined taste sensation! They make a superb relish.
Spain is continuing to recover well from their wet weather issues, although we have seen pricing increases across the board, with Courgettes rocketing recently. We see Peas coming through but be quick! Our Adam has taken a keen liking to them and we fear he may eat all our stock…!
Our Italian friends are offering us some delightful Artichoke Cardoons, Creime De Wrapa, Monks Beard, and the popular Tropea Onions. Our Butternut Squashes coming through from South Africa. Portugal and South America are providing us with our berries, and finally, USA have their new crop Sweet Potatoes available! All good quality and well-priced.
There has been an acute shortage of Green Grapes recently, which will continue into mid-February. We recommend that you use flame grapes, where possible.
We like to think we are on top of most things fresh, but even we couldn’t predict the problems we had with pineapples last month. They have been growing well and the harvest has been good, only for our latest shipment to become stranded in the Atlantic, after the boat had engine failure. We had a glorious harvest of Apricots from Canterbury last year, we can only hope that Pineapples will be the next unlikely crop to grow in the Garden of England! In the meantime, knowing your supply chain intimately can really show what an incredible team effort is put in, not just locally, but across the globe, to bring you the finest products.
There is no change to the Avocado saga. As persistently reported, demand continues to outstrip supply for this super food, with no end in sight. Of course, this means pricing can be temperamental and our QC Danny needs to be on point, as the quality can deteriorate in the haste to grow and trade. We will, as ever, keep you up to date with information. Our Eat Me and Reputation brands are well trusted though.
Melons remain in good supply with stable pricing, and the recent substitutions of Piel De Sapo for Honeydews will come to an end imminently. Many of you have enjoyed our ‘Frog Melons’, as they are more affectionately known, and they are always our go-to whilst waiting for the new season to begin.
Mother Nature has played havoc with produce near and far over the winter, and this little fact makes you see that there really is no in-between! There is a worldwide crisis with Oranges!
Spanish Oranges have suffered in the wet weather and are approximately 50% down on yield from previous years, and Egypt and Morrocco have seen their Orange Trees shedding their flowers because it has been too hot and are down 40-50%! How would they fare in Kent, we also wonder!
As always, please interact with us through our social media channels, and be sure to look at our pages for immediate produce and availability news!