The squashes down here on Buyers' Walk are stunning – a gorgeous array of colours and sizes. These specimens are sent in from Cambridgeshire and sold by wholesaler S Thorogood & Sons.
The prickly numbers below, on the other hand, are trucked over from Italy and France. Shelled chestnuts are also available. Wet walnuts are also coming in thick and fast.
Roots on offer span from the humble carrot, parsnip, turnip, swede and Jerusalem artichoke all the way to the posher chervil root, pictured below.
Homegrown sprouts and their tops have just started. These are struggling to escape their netting.
English sweetcorn is a good call – cheap and tip top quality.
English apples and pears are in full flow. At time of writing, key apple varieties are Worcester (pictured left) and Early Windsor (pictured right). Royal Gala and early pickings of Cox are next in the pipeline.
You may well find some early Conference pears, but these are yet to be available in volume. Comice pears pitch up a little later.
Plums include the last of the Victoria, Marjorie’s Seedling and damsons (all UK), along with Mirabelle (France) and some contenders from Spain.
Kentish cobnuts are a highlight: just edging from their fresh, milky green phase to a slightly dryer nut with a more complex flavour.
From further afield are black figs. Turkish (pictured below) are often the best value, but it’s hard to beat the quality of French and Italian black figs in their prime.
Top grade grape varieties are on hand, such as Muscat and Chasselas. Quince and persimmons are other fruit worth considering.
The first clementines are arriving, too, often from South Africa. (Spanish will be along soon). British rhubarb is a less well-travelled alternative.
Classic autumn veg and salad includes UK-grown rainbow chard, kale, cabbages (especially Savoy), cauliflowers and broccoli. English lettuce is winding down.
This is a fine time for wild mushrooms such as Cep, Pied de Mouton, Caesars, Trompette and – if you’re lucky – the last of the Scottish Girolle. Foraged lines include rosehips and crab apples.
For something more unusual, I spotted some these quirky aubergines over at European Salad Company. These are nicknamed ‘Little Tiger Aubergine’ and ‘Tomato Aubergine’. If these float your boat, I suggest calling in advance as they are rare as hens’ teeth.
Other continental lines from The French Garden include Borlotti bens, courgettes, Romanesco, coloured cauliflowers, leafy celeriac, peppers, fennel and – from the deep south – prickly pears.
See you next month. Feel free to get in touch with any comments and queries.