The veg team had their annual ‘squash tasting’ last week. This entails the roasting of every single variety (!) that we have in the shop and creating notes on flavour, texture and use. This really helps us inform customers make a selection on the shop floor because, surprisingly, every year is different.
The summer of 2019 was not easy for squashes. Many suppliers reported waterlogged plants and lack of sunshine when the fruits needed it to grow bigger. Consequently we do not expect a bumper crop this year, but there’s plenty to go round for now! Flavour-wise there is some real joy to be had. Coming out on top was the Green Acorn from Strawberry Fields in Lincolnshire, because it had that lovely roast potato-like fluffy inside/ crispy outside. Crown Prince (various growers) always goes down well for its nutty creaminess and orange pumpkins from local grower Alan Hewitt (Dunham Massey) tasted lovely and sweet. Also look out for big varieties Marina di Chioggia and Blue Banana from Farmstart in Stockport.
From Europe, pomegranates are the stars of the show. This week there will be two varieties to choose from: Acco: beautiful skin & dark red kernels with a tangy flavour – great for salads. And Mollar d’Eche: not so pretty to look at, but very sweet pale pink kernels.
Finally, a note on celery: we are used to being able to offer UK celery from Strawberry Fields until the ground frost kicks in. This year they experienced serious flooding, which the plants never quite recovered from. This is why we have celery without leaves from Holland and Spain on the display, it’s all there is! We will offer the big green bunches as soon as they are available.