The first summer squash have arrived on our shelves bringing a touch of sunshine to the veg display. Spaghetti squash has a remarkably stringy texture which goes very soft when roasted, and custard squash, a delightfully pie-shaped gourd, can be eaten raw in salads or cooked gently, skin and all.
Courgette plants, another member of the squash family, are renowned for being proliferous fruiters and are finally in full swing so expect good volumes of green, yellow and round varieties from many of our UK growers. Courgettes are wonderfully versatile: roast small ones whole with oil and salt, or slice then grill or fry to retain flavour.
Brassica growers in Lancashire and Yorkshire are reporting weather and pest-related trouble. Being a sensitive crop, broccoli has been hit the hardest and our usual supply needs time to recuperate. For now we will have very limited amounts from large-scale producers Pollybell. We will have plenty of cauliflowers from both Gielty in Ormskirk and Wass in Yorkshire in the mean-time.
Who wants brassicas anyway in this hot and sticky weather?! Lettuces are abundant – look out for beautiful red and green oakleaf from Glebelands City Growers based in Sale, lollo rossa from Ward and Thompson, and bulky batavias from Strawberry Fields to get your salads going.
The mainstay of our UK plum supply this week will be from Carey Organics in Herefordshire, who will be sending a bounty of hand-picked Sanctus Hubertus – a dark red dessert plum with yellow flesh and a rather majestic name, they are sure to be delicious. We will also have a smattering of local Victoria plums from Alan Hewitt based at Dunham Massey.