SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS – MAY 2017

 

  English Asparagus       Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    MAY    April proved to be a stop/start month for home-grown crops but English Wild Garlic and Nettle Tops were particular favourites of our customers.  The Asparagus harvest began a full three weeks earlier than normal, only for the crop in many parts of the country to then be hit by late frosts.  With conditions now improving, we should see English Asparagus from our Kent grower throughout May.  We had Broad Beans and Peas from Italy.  The peas in particular have been much fuller and sweeter over the past couple of weeks.  Glorious plump Wet Violet Garlic arrived on cue from France in the second half of April and, at last, we received some sweeter tomato varieties from both Italy and France. 

English Asparagus     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

MAY

April proved to be a stop/start month for home-grown crops but English Wild Garlic and Nettle Tops were particular favourites of our customers.  The Asparagus harvest began a full three weeks earlier than normal, only for the crop in many parts of the country to then be hit by late frosts.  With conditions now improving, we should see English Asparagus from our Kent grower throughout May.  We had Broad Beans and Peas from Italy.  The peas in particular have been much fuller and sweeter over the past couple of weeks.  Glorious plump Wet Violet Garlic arrived on cue from France in the second half of April and, at last, we received some sweeter tomato varieties from both Italy and France. 

  Sorrel    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    At the beginning of   MAY , as I write this, you will find at Puntarelle & Co:  Italian  Spinach  and  Chard  alongside particularly good  Sorrel .     New Potatoes  from Jersey, France and Cornwall.  New season  Purple Aubergines  from Italy, including the elongated purple and white striped variety, and fragrant  Fennel  bulbs.    Supplies of  Green and Purple Artichokes  from Italy are slowing, to be replaced by French crops this month.    Again, we have chosen  French Grelot Onions  this week.  Italian   Roman  Courgettes  and smooth-skinned Yellow and White varieties along with French round courgettes.   Broad Beans  and  Peas  from Italy are still arriving, the peas fuller and sweeter now.  These are joined by the first Italian  Fine Green Beans .  From Sicily we have firm, crunchy, spiky  Cucumbers    – perfect for pickling – and, in response to customer requests, the first of the  Melons  and small, sweet red-yellow  Watermelons .  English green  Asparagus  from our Kent grower, as well as white French and Italian varieties.  Outdoor-grown English  Rhubarb .  This fruit/vegetable is admittedly not as eye-catching as the early pink forced one, but is a far better proposition for a rhubarb crumble.    Early Spanish  Peaches  and  Nectarines  are in, as are Italian  Apricots  and French outdoor-grown  Strawberries , and Italian  Cherries  and  Nespoli .  Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’  Tomatoes  have arrived from France this week, and we also have other colourful Heritage varieties.  We have English harvests of  Spinach ,  Salad Leaves ,  Cucumbers  and  Radishes  as well as fresh  Herbs  -  Mint,   Coriander  and  Parsley .

Sorrel  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

At the beginning of MAY, as I write this, you will find at Puntarelle & Co:

Italian Spinach and Chard alongside particularly good Sorrel.  

New Potatoes from Jersey, France and Cornwall.

New season Purple Aubergines from Italy, including the elongated purple and white striped variety, and fragrant Fennel bulbs.  

Supplies of Green and Purple Artichokes from Italy are slowing, to be replaced by French crops this month.  

Again, we have chosen French Grelot Onions this week.

Italian Roman Courgettes and smooth-skinned Yellow and White varieties along with French round courgettes.

Broad Beans and Peas from Italy are still arriving, the peas fuller and sweeter now.  These are joined by the first Italian Fine Green Beans.

From Sicily we have firm, crunchy, spiky Cucumbers – perfect for pickling – and, in response to customer requests, the first of the Melons and small, sweet red-yellow Watermelons.

English green Asparagus from our Kent grower, as well as white French and Italian varieties.

Outdoor-grown English Rhubarb.  This fruit/vegetable is admittedly not as eye-catching as the early pink forced one, but is a far better proposition for a rhubarb crumble.  

Early Spanish Peaches and Nectarines are in, as are Italian Apricots and French outdoor-grown Strawberries, and Italian Cherries and Nespoli.

Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’ Tomatoes have arrived from France this week, and we also have other colourful Heritage varieties.

We have English harvests of Spinach, Salad Leaves, Cucumbers and Radishes as well as fresh Herbs - Mint, Coriander and Parsley.

  Radishes    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   So, what new season produce can we  expect  to come through our doors in  MAY ?   Asparagus  and outdoor-grown  Rhubarb  from our Kent grower throughout May.  English  Spring Onions  continue.  Given a little warm weather we will be welcoming English  Broad Beans  and    Peas , later in the month to take over from French and Italian varieties.    Small, crunchy English  Cucumbers  will be with us through May, along with  Radishes  and  Spinach .  We are particularly looking forward to introducing English  Watercress  direct from the grower later in the month.  You can expect lots of fresh, vibrant  Herbs .  Hopefully, we will see some English  Wild Hops  too, if we have some warmer weather, though these will be fleeting.    Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’  Tomatoes  and colourful Heritage ones are now here from France and we expect more varieties with real flavour as the month progresses.  French  Apricots , hopefully some Bergeron, take over from the Italian and Spanish ones later in the month.  We have had some promising English harvests over the past two years so we may have some for you in June/July.   Peaches  and  Nectarines  from Italy will follow the Spanish this month, later joined by French ‘blood’ varieties.   Strawberries  from Italy, Spain and France are tasting good, and we may have English-grown fruit from our Kent grower in mid-May.     Cherries  from Italy, Spain and, later, France.    Towards the end of the month we could have English  Gooseberries  and  Raspberries .   Courgette  fruits and flowers and  Fennel  from both Italy and France.   Wet Garlic from  France and Italy will continue, as will Italian  Tropea Onions  and French  Grelot Onions .   The first new season  Borlotti Beans  and  Yellow Fine Beans  from Italy.    We expect French  Artichokes  to take over from Italian chokes.     New Potatoes  from Jersey, France and Cornwall.   Morel Mushrooms  will be available.  We will have foraged  Sea Spinach  this month.

Radishes  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

So, what new season produce can we expect to come through our doors in MAY?

Asparagus and outdoor-grown Rhubarb from our Kent grower throughout May.  English Spring Onions continue.

Given a little warm weather we will be welcoming English Broad Beans and Peas, later in the month to take over from French and Italian varieties.  

Small, crunchy English Cucumbers will be with us through May, along with Radishes and Spinach.  We are particularly looking forward to introducing English Watercress direct from the grower later in the month.  You can expect lots of fresh, vibrant Herbs.  Hopefully, we will see some English Wild Hops too, if we have some warmer weather, though these will be fleeting.  

Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’ Tomatoes and colourful Heritage ones are now here from France and we expect more varieties with real flavour as the month progresses.

French Apricots, hopefully some Bergeron, take over from the Italian and Spanish ones later in the month.  We have had some promising English harvests over the past two years so we may have some for you in June/July.

Peaches and Nectarines from Italy will follow the Spanish this month, later joined by French ‘blood’ varieties.

Strawberries from Italy, Spain and France are tasting good, and we may have English-grown fruit from our Kent grower in mid-May. 

 Cherries from Italy, Spain and, later, France.  

Towards the end of the month we could have English Gooseberries and Raspberries.

Courgette fruits and flowers and Fennel from both Italy and France.

Wet Garlic from France and Italy will continue, as will Italian Tropea Onions and French Grelot Onions

The first new season Borlotti Beans and Yellow Fine Beans from Italy. 

 We expect French Artichokes to take over from Italian chokes.  

New Potatoes from Jersey, France and Cornwall.

Morel Mushrooms will be available.

We will have foraged Sea Spinach this month.

  Tarragon     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    NEW on our shelves:   Joining our  Fermented Vegetables    range this month are Tarragon Infused Mixed Vegetables; jars of Savoy Cabbage with lemon zest and dill; and Sicilian Kumquats which have fermented to a salty, freshness which we recommend for use in Stews and Tagines or sliced thinly into salads.   With the arrival of the first Italian Fine Beans and harvests of fine, young English Spinach and watercress joining the New Potato crops, we offer a warm salad recipe to take us into May.  This is one of those salads that can be adapted throughout spring and summer according to what produce is available.  You need green leaves, waxy potatoes, fresh beans (asparagus works too) and a little protein like Chorizo, bacon, pancetta, anchovy or boiled chopped egg.  Here is a suggestion using what is available on our shelves right now:

Tarragon   Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

NEW on our shelves:

Joining our Fermented Vegetables range this month are Tarragon Infused Mixed Vegetables; jars of Savoy Cabbage with lemon zest and dill; and Sicilian Kumquats which have fermented to a salty, freshness which we recommend for use in Stews and Tagines or sliced thinly into salads. 

With the arrival of the first Italian Fine Beans and harvests of fine, young English Spinach and watercress joining the New Potato crops, we offer a warm salad recipe to take us into May.  This is one of those salads that can be adapted throughout spring and summer according to what produce is available.  You need green leaves, waxy potatoes, fresh beans (asparagus works too) and a little protein like Chorizo, bacon, pancetta, anchovy or boiled chopped egg.  Here is a suggestion using what is available on our shelves right now:

  A Late Spring Salad    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    A Late Spring Salad    (Serves 4)   300g Fine Green Beans  800g waxy potatoes (e.g. Jersey Royals, La Ratte)  250g cooking chorizo  2 good handfuls of young spinach leaves or watercress (or a mixture), washed and dried.  Dressing:  2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar  Salt and pepper to taste  6-7 tablespoons Olive Oil  Wash the potatoes (skin on or off, as you prefer) and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Cut off the top of beans, wash and boil in salted water until just cooked(2-3 minutes).    Drain the beans and plunge them into cold water to retain the colour before cutting them in half and drying them. Thickly slice the chorizo and fry in a hot pan until softened and slightly coloured. Mix your Dressing in a large serving bowl. Drain and slice the potatoes thickly before adding them to the dressing while still warm.  Add the cooked beans and the chorizo and stir.    Add the spinach (or other) leaves.  Mix gently and serve.

A Late Spring Salad  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

A Late Spring Salad

(Serves 4)

300g Fine Green Beans

800g waxy potatoes (e.g. Jersey Royals, La Ratte)

250g cooking chorizo

2 good handfuls of young spinach leaves or watercress (or a mixture), washed and dried.

Dressing:

2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

6-7 tablespoons Olive Oil

Wash the potatoes (skin on or off, as you prefer) and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
Cut off the top of beans, wash and boil in salted water until just cooked(2-3 minutes).  

Drain the beans and plunge them into cold water to retain the colour before cutting them in half and drying them.
Thickly slice the chorizo and fry in a hot pan until softened and slightly coloured.
Mix your Dressing in a large serving bowl.
Drain and slice the potatoes thickly before adding them to the dressing while still warm.  Add the cooked beans and the chorizo and stir.  

Add the spinach (or other) leaves.  Mix gently and serve.