It’s ALL SYSTEMS GO in terms of summer produce. The first ‘Discovery’ apples are here, such as these beauties from R Tealing:
“It’s going to be a good apple crop - like last year- but a bit earlier,” explains Eddie Barrett at H G Walker.
English Victoria (pic below) and Opal plums are underway:
You’ll also find the first English sweetcorn and early batches of French cobnuts:
This month, a new discovery for me was the ‘Plumcot’, modeled below by Joe Oakden at The French Garden:
“It’s a hybrid between an apricot and a plum,” he explains. “You don’t have to wait for them to ripen up.”
There’s more information here. If you ask me they’re a winner – crunchy yet sweet, with a refreshing tart edge.
English cherries are now on their way out, with US and Canadian supplies filling their shoes.
Spanish peaches, apricots and nectarines remain abundant. You may even spot the odd batch of these white ‘Ice’ peaces, too:
Spanish melons are all kinds are abundant. These French Charentais below are often more pricey:
Spanish black figs, like these stunners below, are a good buy:
Nearly all British soft fruit is at its prime, including gooseberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, whitecurrants, blueberries and blackcurrants.
Grapes are typically from Spain, Italy or Morocco. Look out for lychees from Vietnam and Israel. French greengages also available:
Aside from Discovery, other apples include Braeburn and Gala from New Zealand. Forelle blush pears from South Africa are also worth considering.
At time of writing, note that pomegranates are proving hard to source at due to a gap between the Peruvian and Indian seasons.
New crops of British veg are arriving thick and fast, including sweetcorn, carrot, celery, cabbage, beetroot and onion.
Homegrown Jersey Royals, peas, runners, French beans and broad beans remain in good nick. Tomatoes of all kinds are a must-buy.
Cauliflowers (including Romanesco) and broccoli are often English, too.
English courgettes (including their flowers) and marrows are plentiful:
Most herbs are tiptop, too. These bunches of coriander at Worldwide, for example, were magnificent: fresh and aromatic, with roots intact (perfect for curry pastes). Unsurprisingly, this batch from Surrey sold out lightning fast.
Most English salads are in good fettle, although the hot weather has not been kind for Little Gem, which has been short at times.
Watercress has suffered badly from weevil damage from nearby crops of oilseed rape. “Thirty years I’ve been up here and never come it across it before,” says Simon Collier-Ward at Side Salads.
As for ‘shrooms, you won’t find Morels. But Chanterelle have just started, alongside Girolle (pic below), Pied de Mouton, a little Cep and Trompette:
Other more specialized items include Borlotti beans, English kohl rabi, fennel, purple spring onions and these Romano peppers:
All in all, there’s plenty of choice this August. Roll on September, too, and the first big waves of apples – my favourite English crop.
Get in touch, as ever, with any queries or questions. I look forward to seeing you next month.