Here's a pic of 'chats', the smallest grade you'll find of this prestigious early spud. Mids and wares are the larger sizes:
"Everyone is waiting for peas and broad beans," claims Justin at Covent Garden Supply.
These are trickling in mainly from Italy and Spain - a quintessential taste of spring:
Wild garlic and nettles are two other highlights this month, adding a foraged feel to any menu:
On another high note, the first batches of top notch British mixed tomatoes from Nutbourne Nursery have hit Buyer's Walk. See my Product Profile from last year for more info on this fantastic grower in Sussex:
Forced rhubarb from Yorkshire (see Product Profile) is still available, but supplies of outdoor grown product are now coming through:
Asparagus is just hitting its stride and will be plentiful by mid-month as long as the weather is not too cold.
I just visited the Chinn family, a top grower in the Wye Valley, to learn more about modern techniques for producing this marvelous ingredient. See the Product Profile from last month to find out more:
As for fruit, South Africa remains the dominant sender of a wide range of produce, including grapes, figs, plums, nectarines and peaches:
You'll also find grapes from Chile. Cherries are typically Chilean and Argentinean. Mangoes and pomegranates are both a good buy.
Leafy nardecotts and clementines are still available:
Note that supplies of English apples and pears are now at an end for this season.
For soft fruit, the quality of strawberries is improving, with most hailing from southern Spain. Blackberries, blueberries and redcurrants also available:
On the veg side, white and purple sprouting broccoli are both a tempting option:
Other brassicas are still going strong, including January King cabbages and Romanesco cauliflowers, pictured below. Kale is starting to wind down:
Roots of all kinds are excellent, including Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, celeriac, and bunched carrots:
Check out these wonderful coloured carrots at European Salad Company:
Wet garlic is also available:
For something more offbeat, how about these oca? This root veg is native to Peru and is now grown commercially in France:
On the salad front, note that English salads will not fully hit their stride until May. In the meantime, expect to find leaves from the Continent. Watercress, a.k.a. "cresson" in French, is in season.
Edible flowers are now also brightening up many stands.
Radicchios from Italy are another good bet:
On the wild mushroom front, note that supplies are typically tight at this time of year.
Trompette and girolle are available. Morels (below) are Turkish and pricey. Ceps are hit and miss. Chanterelle and Pied de Mouton are over for a while:
If you visit the market this month, you'll notice a few changes. Building work has now started on the big plans to redevelop the market. You will find more info here.
I look forward to seeing you in May for next month's seasonal report from the market.