Duncan’s Latest Crop Report – March 2016

14th March 2016
The move from Mediterranean produce to both UK and Dutch is beginning to happen, as the produce moves away from the Mediterranean so prices should become easier due to the lower transportation costs. We expect New Forest strawberries within the next couple of weeks which will be followed around the 17th April by Isle of Wight asparagus. Locally the Isle of Wight tomato season is just starting, volumes and varieties are limited initially but with each passing week volumes and variety availability will increase. The New Forest lettuce heads will start in late May and around the same time Isle of Wight summer cauliflowers should start. We should also have Isle of Wight fine beans during the Summer.

Local

Garlic We are still using high quality Garlic Farm assured garlic only, for our garlic bulbs, black garlic cloves 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 supplied by the Garlic Farm. Tomatoes The Isle of Wight tomato season is just starting, beginning with cherry tomatoes and beef tomatoes this week with other varieties to follow over the next couple of weeks. We also supply Tomato Stall ketchup, oak smoked tomatoes and juices all top quality. 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. These are: Flat, Portobello, Cup, Chestnut and a Gourmet mix (Eryngi, yellow oyster, grey oyster and shiitake). Eryngi, Shiitake, Grey Oyster and Yellow Oyster are all available on a bought to order basis this ensures they are fresh to you straight from the grower though they are on a 24 hour lead time. We do still offer imported button mushrooms where provenance is not an over riding factor for customers. 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, from Secretts Farm. This is ever popular at fine dining establishments and has an ever increasing loyal following for those who want the best. All the individual leaves used in the Gourmet Mix are also available in single leaf options on a bought to order basis to ensure the freshest leaf to you. Watercress We supply watercress only from the renowned Secretts Farm as this is of the very best quality both in 500g and 100g amounts. 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. Most of the herbs from him are Columbian or Middle Eastern currently. Carrots Carrots are now UK cold store, with the new season not due until late May.

General

Aubergines These are of good consistent quality and reasonable volumes, prices have stabilised recently these are now Spanish 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 imported. Broccoli This is now Spanish and will be so until the English new season starts in late Spring. Cauliflowers Normally we would still have UK cauliflowers but due to the heavier than usual rainfall huge tracts of land that are being harvested for cauliflowers normally now have cauliflowers rotting in the fields or livestock grazing on them. We have therefore been forced to switch to imported cauliflowers to ensure a respectable size, firmness and white curd. This though has had an adverse effect on prices which are extremely expensive. Cucumbers We are now in the beginning of the Northern European season as well as late Mediteranean season, as a result cucumbers are coming in from UK, France, Spain and Holland. The Spanish will cease in the next month or so as we gradually switch to Dutch and UK cucumbers for the Summer season. Onions Red Onions from the UK crop are still good quality coming from storage which we are sticking to whilst quality is this good. We have switched to Spanish onions for normal brown onions as these are the best available these are the cold store ones, though a switch to Chilean will happen fairly soon. Parsnips We are supplying just UK parsnips once again Medina is leading the way in support of the UK farmers when quality and price are similar we will source as locally as possible. Peppers Spanish peppers are at their peak in terms of quality though a bout of poor waether in Spain has led to a price spike, this will ease once the weather has improved for a couple of weeks and supplies increase. Meanwhile Dutch peppers will start properly in the next few weeks which will increase supply and lead to an easing of prices. Swede We are only stocking UK swede as we continue to support the domestic market where ever the chance permits. Honeydew No issues seen in the latest arrivals as we look to switch to the more rounded Southern Hemisphere fruit, initially volumes will be mainly Brazilian. Galia We are mainly using Brazilian fruit where product is in good supply and quality is good. Cantaloupe Brazilian fruit is now in peak season, product is of a good size. 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 We are now stocking Spanish lemons which are now in full swing, prices are competitive and quality is bang on. Limes Good products coming in firm and juicy flesh, supplies are mainly Mexican and Brazilian.