Duncan’s Latest Crop Report – February 2015

11 February 2015
Recent cold weather in Spain has affected salad crops and led to a firming up of prices, courgettes and cucumbers in particular have been affected. On the Isle of Wight the winter crops are now in full swing though the heads on cauliflowers have been smaller than usual and at this moment we do not know why, some have suggested the temperature of the earth at planting was unusually high but there is no evidence supporting this theory.
Local
Savoy Cabbage Ben’s savoy cabbage is now coming through as lovely deep green heads, very firm and “squeaky” heads just what you expect from a quality grower. Cauliflower Isle of Wight cauliflowers are now in full swing though having spoken to both Ben and John the head sizes are smaller this year than last. Kale The kale from Ben is now mainly Kale tops and the white is expected to finish in the next few days leaving just red and green in the mix. Cavlo Nero The black cabbage is still a good product though supplies will start to run short in the next few weeks. Purple Sprouting Broccoli This has lovely tight heads on the stems rarely has the local Purple sprouting been so good. Potatoes We are supplying Isle of Wight Maris potatoes from John Knox which as usual are of an excellent quality as an all rounder especially as a chipper, John also has excellent red potatoes. We offer mainland washed potatoes for those who require a clean washed potato and of course baking potatoes from the mainland crop which is now in full swing. We have from the Shanklin area, dirty ware potatoes (Estima variety). Local heritage potatoes from the main crop are in stock from West Wight such as Vitelotte and Arran Victory, all Isle of Wight grown. 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 have secured supplies of Isle of Wight tomatoes through the Winter, of certain varieties grown under lights in a heated environment. These are classic vine, classic round and beefsteak. The quality and taste is far better than that of the imports as these are grown on the vine to maturity. We collect freshly picked tomatoes daily so you will always get fresh, ripe and very tasty local tomatoes. We will supply imported of varieties that we cannot source local for. 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. Coming soon we expect to have a new Isle of Wight mushroom grower once the weather is a little warmer with a hopeful start late March. 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. Parsnips We now have local Parsnips from Secretts farm on the 10kg parsnip code, these are untrimmed and are not hydro-cooled, so have far more flavour. These do need to be washed thoroughly before use as there are still some soil residue on them. Leeks We are now sourcing leeks from Secretts as the Isle of Wight crop are 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 Spanish. 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 Italy 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. Carrots The UK season is now in full swing and prices have eased back to last years levels we also offer local bunched carrots in various colours on a bought to order basis to ensure freshness. Cucumbers We have now switched to Spanish which we will be stocking through until early spring when the Northern European seasons come back on stream. 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. Large Spanish Onions are in full swing, quality is excellent and we try to stock the larger sizes rather than the smaller sizes as these help caterers saving prep time and having less waste. Our medium onions are currently UK as we try to keep produce as local as we can for customers after provenance. Peppers Spanish peppers are arriving in good condition of the quality we demand, sizing is very consistent and quality is good. Courgettes The courgettes are now Spanish mainly and are of a very good quality and consistency of sizes has improved over the last week as the early season ones were very inconsistent in size. We will remain on imports, Spanish now the Dutch from April/May until the new Isle of Wight crop expected in late June. Swede The Isle of Wight swede has finished and we are now using mainland UK swede. 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, has started leading to increasing volumes and therefore lower prices, back to the levels of a year ago. 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.