At this point in the year we see the bulk of our offer originating from Europe, France and Spain in particular. New crops are bringing an air of freshness to the display that’s hard to resist. Celery (Demeter certified), spring onions and fennel deserve a special mention. Aubergines and courgettes are abundant and excellent value.
UK produce, by contrast, is dwindling, but that doesn’t mean farmers get to put their feet up. They are working hard to prepare the ground for planting in a few months’ time. Duncan Gielty in Ormskirk (Lancs) has just put seeds in the ground for various crops (herbs, carrots, celery) that we’ll have in the shop later in the year. Francis Sampson in Cornwall is working on seed modules, digging the ground as well as cutting our cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli.
The salad leaves mix from Glebelands (Sale, Manchester) is stunning at the minute. The bright sunny weather means leaves are shooting up quickly now. This week the mix contains -get ready:
· Mustard varieties: giant red, green-in-snow, red dragon, red knight, red empire.
· Endive varieties: pancalieri, escariol, romanesca di taglio, fine maraichere.
· Winter purslane