Duncan’s Latest Crop Report – March 2015

25 March 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
Savoy Cabbage Ben's savoy cabbage beautiful lovely deep green, very firm and “squeaky” heads just what you expect from a quality grower. 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 recently. Purple Sprouting Broccoli & White Sprouting Broccoli These have lovely tight heads on the stems rarely has the local 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. 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 now drawing to a close as we switch to the early picks of Isle of Wight Tomatoes not grown under lights. 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. 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 switching from Spanish to Dutch. 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 but UK leaves are starting to filter through into the mix. Broccoli We are now fully switched to the Spanish season the broccoli heads so far are of a consistent size and reasonable quality. 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. 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. 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. We have sourced some larger than normal “medium” onions which are UK. We try to keep produce as local as we can for your ingredient provenance, these are at a very competitive price. Peppers Spanish peppers are now finishing as they begin to split and shelf lives shorten so we have switched to Dutch for the longer shelf life and better quality. 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, 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.