This week we salute the humble brassica. The brassica family includes all kales, cabbages and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflowers. They grow particularly well in the North West and now is the perfect time to be eating them. For the lovers, we’ve the first sprouts of the season from Duncan Gielty in Ormskirk, a good size and vivid green colour. At the more unusual end we have button hole kale – with a bouquet-like pretty gradient of pink to dark green, these look intimidating to prepare but once stripped form the stalk and shredded can replace any hardy green or kale with their chlorophyll-rich sweetness. From The Wasses up in Yorkshire we also have Red Lion broccoli, a purple cauliflower and broccoli cross as well as the usual suspects – cavolo nero, curly red, green and Russian kale and three colours of cauliflower too.
With Halloween approaching now is of course the time for pumpkins – both green and orange varieties are available from 4 different growers around the UK, including a lovely supply from Alan Hewitt just a few miles away at Dunham Massey. They’re a little on the small side this year, another casualty of the midsummer drought, but the flavour and texture remain great; try them roasted in half moons or sample the salads and soups prepared by our deli team. We’ve also got plenty of carving pumpkins to get creative with.
There’s a limited supply of true spinach available now as most of our growers are coming to the end of their crops, expect a few gaps while we move over to a European supply. We’ll have plenty of chards and spinach beets in their place.
From Europe we’re eating loads of the Wonderful variety pomegranates – the ruby seeds have just the right sour zing, without any of the disappointing crunch that gets caught in your teeth; delicious in juices as well as scattered atop of salads. Osteen mangoes from Spain are providing just the right dose of tropical sunshine needed as we prepare for the colder weather ahead.