Duncan’s Latest Crop Report – April 2015

14 April 2015
The appearance of forced rhubarb recently marked the beginning of Spring, now the outdoor rhubarb is imminent which confirms the start of Spring. On the Isle of Wight some Winter crops have finished such as Kale, Cavlo Nero and Leeks. On the flip side the Cauliflowers which had been smaller than usual have now grown much larger in the mild temperatures which along with Isle of Wight Savoy Cabbage are at their best..
Local
Asparagus Due in on Monday 20th and preliminary samples show quality to be excellent as usual from Ben's crop. Strawberries New Forest strawberries starting on 15th April sizes may be a little smaller initially but a great sign that Spring is here. Far tastier than the imported you cannot beat English strawberries for flavour. Savoy Cabbage Ben's savoy cabbage beautiful lovely deep green, very firm and “squeaky” heads just what you expect from a quality grower, these are at their best right now. Cauliflower Isle of Wight cauliflowers are now in full swing head sizes have recovered back to normal size from the small heads that were about in mid winter. Purple Sprouting Broccoli, White Sprouting Broccoli & Flower Sprouts Supplies are now beginning to tighten up though we also have flower sprouts. Flower Sprouts a cross between Brussels Sprouts and Kale is acknowledged as a “super food” for the health conscious. Garlic We are still using high quality Garlic Farm assured garlic only, for our garlic bulbs and smoked garlic bulbs. Having Colin one of the foremost garlic experts on our doorstep is an opportunity to ensure we stock the best garlic available. Tomatoes We now stock new season Isle of Wight cherry tomatoes, mini plum, golden mini plum and classic loose. The quality and taste is far better than that of the imports as these are grown on the vine to maturity rather than picked under ripe. The Tomato Stall also specialise in the tastier varieties than just the highest yielding, this is what makes the difference. There will be Heirloom local very soon probably the first week of May. We will supply imported of varieties that we cannot source locally and the round tomatoes for those on a budget. Mushrooms New Forest mushrooms are in good supply and consistent quality the texture is much better than imported due to be a day fresher as we collect direct from the grower in the New Forest. We still offer cheaper imported Button Mushrooms where providence is not an over riding factor for customers who are on a budget. Gourmet Baby Leaf Our Gourmet baby leaf offering is a superb mix of the most delicate of leaves and now comes in a re-sealable 500gm bag. This is ever popular at fine dining establishments and has an ever increasing loyal following for those who want the best. Herbs All herbs are from our grower in the New Forest, during the periods that his herbs cannot grow here he imports quality herbs from abroad until his home grown are available again. Leeks We are now sourcing leeks from Secretts as the Isle of Wight crop is now finished both from Ben and Will. This fits into our company philosophy of buying quality local produce when ever possible we will supplement with UK leeks if needed from market to ensure supply.

General

Aubergines These are of good consistent quality and reasonable volumes, prices have stabilised recently these are now Dutch due to the quality. Baby Salad Mixes We do a genuine Baby Leaf mix which remains our best seller, this is a fairly robust product and certainly not as delicate as the Gourmet mix, the leaves are now coming from early crop UK in the main. Broccoli We are now fully switched to the Spanish season the broccoli heads so far are of a consistent size and reasonable quality, the switch to UK is expected in very late May. Carrots We are now onto cool stored UK carrots and may remain on these until the new UK crop, there might be a few weeks when imported are needed in May / June but there is a large current stock of UK that may see us through for the whole year unusually. Cucumbers We are currently in the throes of switching from Spanish to Northern European, Dutch and English cucumbers, prices seem normal for the time of year, though they did have a price spike last week. Mushrooms We now have an exotic mushroom mix stocked and on special offer for a 1.36kg tray, this has an excellent selection for wild mushroom dishes. Our oyster, shiitake and yellow oyster mushrooms are all super fresh as we do these bought to order, prices have been trimmed for all of these. Onions Red Onion supply from the UK and Holland is in good supply and quality remains good however the majority of the red are Dutch. We have sourced some large English onions as we try to keep produce as local as we can for your ingredient provenance, these are at a very competitive price and have replaced our Spanish onions. Peppers These are now all Dutch due to the longer shelf life and better quality compared to Spanish at this time of year, prices may be a little more for the short term but the quality difference is huge. Courgettes The courgettes are now Spanish of a very good quality and consistency of sizes. We will remain on imports, Spanish now then Dutch from April/May until the new Isle of Wight crop expected in late June. Melons Honeydew: No issues seen in the latest arrivals. Slightly crispy texture with pale-creamy internal colour. We have switched to Southern Hemisphere fruit which is more rounded than the Spanish. Galia: The Spanish Galia varieties have all finished so we have switched to Southern Hemisphere fruit which usually has a lighter coloured flesh. Cantaloupe: First arrivals of South American fruit has been good and have good brix levels. Slight crunch with a good flavour. Internally the colour is a lighter orange than the last of the Spanish Fruit. Watermelon: Good quality upon arrivals this week - Product is not showing any major quality issues. Good flavour .Slightly lower brix in the small sizes. Lemons The Spanish season is in full swing and supply is currently plentiful. Limes Good products coming in. Firm and juicy flesh. Excellent cut tests, prices have fallen back to normal levels for the time of year, the Mexican season is all but over so most supplies are now coming from Brazil.