For those with a keen sense of smell, there are some beautifully perfumed autumnal fruits at the moment…Foremost amongst these is the range of pear varieties. We tend to think November is when the Conference really come into their own, and have been mixing and matching with lesser known varieties and the different characteristics they bring. Onward pears are particularly aromatic, their flavour & texture similar to a Comice, but easier to grow in the UK – recommended for poaching. Beurre Hardy, often best peeled, have buttery/smooth flesh and an excellent flavour. Both come courtesy of Carey near Hereford, alongside their conference.
Come Friday, they will be joined by Concorde pears from Windmill near Banbury. Easily confused with Conference by appearance, they are actually a Conference/Comice cross. Not possible to reference Windmill Orchards in October without a nod to their wonderful supply of quince! To the uninitiated, quince are related to apples and pears, but are not to be eaten raw. Jams, jellies, puddings and pies are the order of the day. When fully ripe, the smell is nothing short of sensational. Equally exciting is the arrival of our first ever kiln-dried UK walnuts from Windmill on Friday. You’ll have seen the fresh green-fleshed supply in recent weeks, but this year Sima has decided to invest in a kiln in order to maximise her crop… should be a feature throughout the autumn.
Veg-wise, summer crops such as tomatoes and courgettes are becoming scarce – expect us to look increasingly to continental Europe. The brassica range however is still full to bursting! The range of different kales and cavolo nero is particularly impressive.